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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mary Franson (R)

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Legislative Update from Rep. Mary Franson

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, Democrats made a significant change to the student disciplinary policy last session which threatens the safety of students and staff as they head back to school. This new law is unclear and dangerously limits Student Resource Officer’s (SRO) ability to keep our kids safe on campus.

Democrats slipped this provision into their education omnibus bill with no input from law enforcement. They clearly intended to target law enforcement working as school resource officers to dissuade local police and sheriff’s offices from entering into public safety agreements with schools. Now, police organizations and their legal counsels are advising their members to consider not working as an SRO in the new academic year. Several law enforcement offices have already announced they are not putting officers in school districts next year, including Hennepin County Sheriff and Coon Rapids Police Department.

School districts across Minnesota have already announced that they will not have SROs as kids head back to school. This morning, House and Senate Republican leadership sent a letter to Governor Walz urging him to bring the legislature back for a special session to fix this issue. School districts and law enforcement should not be forced to find a work around in order to keep students and staff safe at school. Every second counts in an emergency. No parent wants a student resource officer to hesitate in the event their child’s life is at risk. Without swift action to clear up any ambiguity, the safety of our students and staff is threatened as they begin the new academic year.

I have spoken with local law enforcement, but school districts and police departments will need to find a temporary solution until the legislature reconvenes in February. The safety of our students is a top priority, and I will continue to update you on this critical issue.