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House passes bill to address issue compromising school safety

Tuesday, March 5, 2024


ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House on Monday approved a bill which Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, said aims to improve safety after a change in law caused school resource officers to be removed from schools throughout the state.

McDonald credited Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer for continuing to staff area schools with SROs, but indicated a permanent legislative fix was needed to ensure that would remain the case 

“Our students, teachers and staff deserve to have their safety come first and this bill provides clarity that was needed before SROs could return to duty in a number of schools around Minnesota,” McDonald said. “I am among those who pushed for this issue to be taken up in a special session prior to the start of the current school year or, at the very least, at the very beginning of this legislative session. But that didn’t happen, and progress was slow until the majority finally worked with House Republicans and law enforcement on a bipartisan solution. The bill we passed is not perfect, but it is the result of compromise that only was achieved once politics was set aside and the focus was squarely on the safety of our children, teachers and school staff first.”

The issue traces back to an omnibus education bill (HF 2497) Democrats enacted into law in 2023, imposing new prohibitions on the use of force in schools, banning certain physical holds by “an employee or agent of a district, including a school resource officer, security personnel, or police officer contracted with a district."

Language in the new measure provides updates which exclude SROs as employees or agents of a school district, exclude SROs from the prohibitions on prone restraints and physical holds; revise the “reasonable force standard” and mandate school districts and charter schools use only trained SROs and establishes new training and model policy requirements for law enforcement.

The House approved the bill (H.F. 3489) 124-8 and it now awaits action in the Senate.


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