Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Education Committee

HB 1264

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning secondary traumatic stress in public school staff.

Sponsors: Representatives Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Bergquist, Santos, Dolan, Lovick, Peterson, Reeves, Sells, Stanford, Appleton, Callan, Wylie and Pollet.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to develop online training modules to support teachers affected by secondary traumatic stress.

Hearing Date: 2/5/19

Staff: Megan Wargacki (786-7194).


Secondary Traumatic Stress.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines secondary traumatic stress disorder, or compassion fatigue, as a natural, but disruptive by-product of working with people who have been traumatized. Evidence of secondary traumatic stress can be difficult to recognize in oneself or even in others. Symptoms often include a combination of cognitive, behavioral, emotional, spiritual, and physical features, such as feelings of isolation, anxiety, dissociation, physical ailments, and sleep disturbances. Secondary traumatic stress is preventable and treatable, however, if unaddressed, the symptoms can result in problems with mental and physical health, strained personal relationships, and poor work performance.

Professional Learning.

Washington defines professional learning as a comprehensive, sustained, job-embedded, and collaborative approach to improving teachers' and principals' effectiveness in raising student achievement. Professional learning must incorporate differentiated, coherent, sustained, and evidence-based strategies that improve educator effectiveness and student achievement. It should include the work of established collaborative teams of staff members, who commit to working together on an ongoing basis to accomplish common goals and who are engaged in a continuous cycle of professional improvement. Professional learning should be facilitated by well-prepared leaders who incorporate knowledge, skills, and dispositions for leading professional learning of adults.

State funding for professional learning days for teachers and other certificated instructional staff must be provided to school districts as follows:

Summary of Bill:

Secondary Traumatic Stress Modules.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) must identify or develop online training modules to support teachers affected by secondary traumatic stress, and make the modules available on its website. At a minimum, the modules must:

Professional Learning Topics.

Beginning in fiscal year 2021, if the number of state-allocated professional learning days for either certificated instructional staff or classified staff is increased beyond the number allocated in fiscal year 2020, the OSPI must include the secondary traumatic stress training modules on the menu of professional learning topics that may be implemented on the additional professional learning days.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on January 30, 2019.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.