At the AFT convention in July, delegates adopted three resolutions of pressing interest to paraprofessionals and school-related personnel (PSRPs).
In the first, the AFT resolved that our union will help affiliates advocate for the training PSRPs need to fulfill their responsibilities under the Common Core State Standards. The resolution also calls for including PSRPs as stakeholders and partners in the Common Core process. The reasoning behind the resolution is that there’s wide variation in implementing standards, and that they require deeper content and mastery of new technology.
AFT vice president Dan Montgomery, also president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, spoke for the resolution, saying PSRPs must not be forgotten as the new standards are applied.
The second resolution concerns the role of volunteers in public schools. The AFT has a long and proud history of encouraging community volunteers to enhance the work of PSRPs, but volunteers’ generous donation of time must not be used as an excuse to replace dedicated support staff with untrained and unqualified volunteers.
Therefore, the AFT resolved unanimously that it will oppose efforts to replace PSRPs with volunteers and will work with volunteer organizations on strategies for integrating volunteers into public schools.
Pamela Briece of the Oregon School Employees Association spoke to the resolution on volunteers, pointing out that schools’ administrative professionals, for example, handle confidential and sensitive information.
Finally, concerning students with seizure disorders, delegates resolved that the AFT should continue lobbying for at least one full-time, licensed and registered nurse in every school. In light of emergency interventions, the AFT will lobby to ensure that unlicensed school personnel should have the option of declining to participate in the administration of Diastat, a controlled substance administered rectally.
The AFT further resolved to advocate that all school districts must defend and indemnify workers who volunteer to administer this medication from any civil liability, and fight to ensure that no employees will incur pressure to administer or be subjected to disciplinary action if they decline to administer the medication. [Annette Licitra/photo by Russ Curtis]