*Policy Note: In 2021, the State Legislature passed SHB 1363, relating to policies and resources to address secondary traumatic stress in the K-12 workforce. The legislation requires districts to adopt a policy with specific elements by the 2021-22 school year. There are ongoing conversations in the district regarding staff wellness. Therefore, it is expected that this policy will be reviewed and revised during the 2021-2022 school year based on the outcome of these conversations.
Secondary Traumatic Stress
The Highline School Board is committed to preventing and addressing secondary traumatic stress for District personnel by supporting mental health in the workplace. Everyday school staff work with students experiencing trauma and loss. As a result, teachers, school counselors, administrators, and other school staff may experience secondary traumatic stress.
Secondary traumatic stress, also called compassion fatigue, is a natural but disruptive set of symptoms that may result when one person learns firsthand of the traumatic experiences of another. When secondary traumatic stress is left unaddressed, it may lead to staff turnover, burnout, adult chronic absenteeism, and health issues that negatively impact everyone in the school community.
It is the policy of Highline Public Schools to promote a positive workplace climate that includes a focus on diversity and inclusion.
The Board hereby establishes a district-wide workforce mental health committee with the following functions:
- Share secondary traumatic stress, stress management, and other mental health resources and supports available through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Educational Service District, and the School Employees’ Benefits Board;
- Share links to a secondary traumatic stress self-assessment tool and any associated resources;
- Report to the Board at least once per year with a summary of committee activities.
The District will regularly assess district-level and school building–level implementation of this policy and procedure. The assessment will include input from the District’s workforce. The District will provide appropriate resources and training to schools and staff for continuous improvement.
District Cross Reference:
Equity, Race, and Identity – Policy 0010
Schoolwide Social Emotional Learning and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support – 3235
Workplace Environment and Culture – 5000
Non-Discrimination and Equitable Employment Practices – 5010
Employee Assistance Program - 5204
WSSDA Cross References:
Workforce Secondary Traumatic Stress - 5515
Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Board: October 2021
Revised by the Board: