The Tennessee General Assembly will consider whether teachers have greater disciplinary authority over troublesome students. Specifically, the bill would allow teachers to request the removal of students whose behavior violates the policies or codes of conduct of either the district or the school. It would also enable teachers to use “reasonable or justifiable force” to relocate students if necessary.
If passed, the bill would also require boards of education and public charter school governing bodies to include provisions that would allow teachers to enforce student discipline and accountability. This would extend to teachers’ abilities to intervene in physical altercations between students, or between students and an employee. This bill would apply to both public and charter schools in the state.
The legislation included comprehensive reporting requirements for a range of disciplinary actions that could be undertaken by teachers, and annual reports on all incidents that occurred. It also included provisions for proper communications between the student requested for removal and school officials.
Teachers who act under this proposed legislation would be protected. The language of the bill explicitly specifies that no form of termination, demotion, harassment, or retaliation may occur as a result of any request to remove a student from a class. Conversely, teachers who abuse the legislation would be required to undergo continued education.
State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) introduced the bill in December. He received support in the Senate with a companion bill from State Senator Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) about a month later.
Cepicky didn’t respond to request for comment by press time.
The House is scheduled to vote on the bill next week, and the Senate will likely vote on the bill in the coming weeks.
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