Back to school (safety and student well-being)

Dear friends and neighbors,

Fall is now upon us, with leaves crunching beneath our feet and our kids and teachers back in their classrooms. That’s why I’m getting ready for the 2020 legislative session and our continuing efforts to improve student safety and well-being.

We made great progress this year by passing important legislation to put resources and training in place in our schools to prevent and intervene in mental health, behavioral health, gun violence, or suicide crises. But in 2020, we need to finish the job by funding additional staff in our Educational Service Districts in order to successfully implement the new law. Without additional action from the Legislature, students will go without the mental and behavioral supports they need to succeed academically in a safe environment. 

I recently held a press conference to kick off these efforts. Check it out below.

Another bill I introduced this year and am working to pass in 2020 is House Bill 1833 to provide opportunity to qualifying parents with past felony convictions to volunteer in their children’s school. Kids need their own parents to be able to come into their classroom, but that is currently impossible even if the parent has successfully turned their life around after a long-ago conviction. My bill will ensure student safety is not compromised because only parents that a judge has deemed worthy of earning a Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP) may not be automatically denied volunteer roles because of past convictions.

A CROP is a rigorous, years-long journey that someone with certain felony convictions may undertake to prove to the criminal justice system that they have successfully turned their life around and are ready to reenter society. The process cannot begin until the person has exited state custody, and persons convicted of violent or sexual crimes are not eligible. It’s an important part of our effort to enact criminal justice reform and heal communities. Learn more about the Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity here.

Thanks for taking the time to read this update, and I welcome your feedback,