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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cedrick Frazier (DFL)

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Enhanced School Resource Officer legislation passes off the House Floor

Monday, March 4, 2024

Saint Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed comprehensive legislation to provide a uniform system across the state for districts that decide to have a School Resource Officer (SRO) program with a 124-8 vote. The bill, HF 3489, would provide the clarity law enforcement agencies and school districts sought last fall regarding the use-of-force standard.   

Representative Cedrick Frazier (DFL-New Hope) is chief author of the bill.

"I want to thank all Minnesotans who shared their voices on this issue for their dedication, advocacy, and collaboration in refining the SRO bill for the betterment of our students, educators, and school resource officers,” Rep. Frazier said. “Their expertise will be invaluable as the POST Board develops the 'model policy'. This standardized framework will leverage the most effective, research-based practices for safe and dignified intervention, ensuring clarity and consistency for students, parents, educators, and resource officers. The model policy will promote transparency, set clear expectations for all involved, and foster accountability through consistent implementation and evaluation.” 

Following the murder of George Floyd — highlighting for the world the dangers of face-down prone restraints — the use of chokeholds was banned for law enforcement. In 2023, the Legislature updated guidelines for the use of force in schools, working to ensure school discipline practices reflect our shared commitment to ensuring schools are safe, healthy, nurturing environments. Despite clear legal guidance the Minnesota Attorney General issued on this matter, lawmakers continued to listen to law enforcement and school districts and went to work on crafting solutions to address their concerns. 

The bill clarifies the law regarding the use of force in schools and retains the limitation on the use of chokeholds that applies to all peace officers in Minnesota Statute 609.06. It creates a statutory definition for School Resource Officers and requires a statewide standard of the basic training required for SROs. To minimize harmful, disparate engagements between SROs and students, the legislation also expressly prohibits SROs from being used to deliver discipline for violation of school policies. 

Significantly, the bill creates a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board model policy, codifying minimum standards that must exist if districts choose to contract with SROs. The policy will have minimum standards for proper use of force, response tactics to minimize the use of prone restraints and other physical holds, the duty to render care, alternative procedures to de-escalate conflict, and considerations to build constructive police relationships with students, administrators, and educational staff. The bill requires the POST Board to develop the model policy with impacted Minnesotans including law enforcement, education experts, local units of government, community advocates, and organizations representing youth. 

You can watch the presentation and testimony of the bill here. The bill will next go to the Minnesota Senate for its consideration.