ST. PAUL, MINN – On Tuesday in the House Education Finance Committee, legislators will hear a bill authored by Chair Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) that puts teachers back in charge of classrooms and helps protect staff from physical assault. Following several local news stories about students physically assaulting school staff, the legislation will help to clarify the authority of educators in the classroom and provide for official reporting requirements to track how common these occurrences are in Minnesota schools.
"The judgment of a teacher running his or her classroom needs to be respected by students and school administrators," said Representative Loon. "This legislation will give educators the authority they need to keep control of their classroom, as well as help legislators and the Minnesota Department of Education gather information about the prevalence of student assault cases on staff across the state. Both students and educators deserve a safe, positive environment that fosters learning and growth, and we must ensure that we are addressing violence in our schools."
House File 3679 accomplishes the following:
- Requires that a school board's district-wide school discipline policy is consistent with a teacher's authority to control their classroom and manage student behavior
- Requires that teachers be notified when a student with a history of violent behavior is placed in their classroom
- Allows teachers to remove a student from their classroom
- Maintains local authority for school administrations to discipline students in accordance with their local policies
- Directs school boards to include information detailing incidents involving a student's physical assault on a teacher, as well as the district's response to that assault as part of state-required School Performance Reports
- Establishes a Victims of School Violence fund to compensate teachers and other public school employees who are victims of physical assault by a student for related medical and legal costs incurred when other compensation is not available
The bill is currently scheduled first on the agenda for Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in the House Education Finance Committee at 12:45 PM in Room 5 of the State Office Building.
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