April 11, 2008
Beavers’ bill helps teachers receive leave time to visit
family member deployed overseas
NASHVILLE, TN– The State Senate voted 32 to 0 to approve legislation, sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), to give teachers 10 days leave to meet up with their spouse, child, or parent, if they are deployed out of the country and are granted Rest and Recuperation Leave (R&R).
Beavers told state senators that the bill was introduced after her research analyst for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Michelle Consiglio, a Wilson County resident, looked into the matter for the family of Lt. Col. Bobby Hibbett, who has been deployed in Iraq with the Tennessee Army National Guard. Hibbett also serves as an Assistant District Attorney in Wilson County. The law specifies certain circumstances automatically approved for teacher leave, but no such leave is currently stated about visiting a deployed family member while overseas. Hibbett, who recently returned from Iraq with his unit, was Senator Beavers’ guest on the Senate Floor as the bill was presented.
“Teachers should without question be allowed this leave,” said Senator Beavers. “These families make tremendous sacrifices to serve our country. It is not fair for a teacher, who is serving the state, to not be granted leave under these circumstances.”
“We thought that this is something that should be added to the code,” she added. “We have so many people in military service from Tennessee right now. When a deployed soldier is granted R&R, they often do not have time to return to the United States, so they instead opt to travel to Europe to meet with their families. If the only chance a spouse, child, or parent has to visit their loved one is in a foreign country, then I think the spouse and children should be granted such leave without protest from the school.”
The bill, SB 3364, is pending action in the House Calendar and Rules Committee before it goes to a final vote in the House of Representatives.
A similar bill granting up to 10 days of excused absences for students to visit a parent or legal guardian granted R&R while deployed overseas, SB3366, has passed both the House and Senate. The bill is awaiting the Governor’s signature before becoming law.
Beavers, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Lt. Col. Bobby Hibbett