Provision in Senate education bill would make classrooms safer for educators

Minnesota legislators are currently negotiating the E-12 education omnibus bill, which involves hashing out the differences between the House version and the Senate version before a final version is approved.

There are key differences between the two versions, including a provision on Education Savings Accounts, and another I want to note below on making classrooms safer for staff and students.

The teacher safety provision in the Senate education bill includes three pieces:

  • Requires the district to give a teacher who was physically assaulted by a student a copy of the report submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education.
  • Requires a school principal to remove a student from class for at least three days if the student engaged in assault or violent behavior. Allows the student to return to the classroom after the students has been given assistance to prevent the inappropriate behavior from recurring.
  • States that a paraprofessional assigned to work alone or on a regular basis with a student with a disability has a legitimate interest in knowing the student’s history of violent behavior.

The House version does not include any of the above language, and both the Minnesota Department of Education and Education Minnesota (the state’s teachers’ union) oppose the teacher safety language.

Everyone in our school communities deserves to be safe — from teachers to other staffers to students. While the goal is to keep students in the classroom so that learning opportunities are not missed, there are instances and circumstances where doing so would not be the most effective or safest for teachers and students.

Reach out to your legislators and encourage them to support this teacher safety provision.