Legislation giving teachers authority to remove disruptive students from the classroom receives final approval

(NASHVILLE, TN), March 20, 2012 — Teachers in grades 5 – 12 would have more authority to remove disruptive students from the classroom under legislation sponsored by Senate Education Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), which was approved by the State Senate Monday night.   The bill authorizes each teacher, consistent with the local education agency’s (LEA) policy, to manage their classroom, discipline students and refer a student to the principal. It also requires principals to fully support the authority of the teacher to remove a persistently disruptive student as long as he/she was removed within the guidelines developed by the school and the LEA.

“Teachers cannot teach when they have persistently disruptive students in their classroom,” said Senator Gresham.  “It is also unfair to hold teachers responsible for the progress of disruptive students who are out of their control, not to speak of the impact it has on other students in the classroom.”

“Children do not learn in a vacuum. The classroom environment we provide our kids directly affects the amount of instruction they are able to absorb,” said Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey praising the bill. “Teachers must have the ability to remove uncontrollable children who persistently contaminate the learning environment. I commend Chairman Gresham for bringing forth this measure.”

Senate Bill 3122 requires LEAs, or school boards, to adopt a complete policy regarding a teacher’s ability to remove a disruptive student from the classroom.   Under the bill, teachers must file a brief report with the principal detailing the behavior of the removed student.  The principal must respond when a teacher refers a student by employing appropriate discipline management techniques that are consistent with the LEA policy and their student code of conduct.  Following three documented removals, the principal cannot return a student back to that classroom unless the teacher consents.  Similarly, principals would be prohibited from returning a student to the classroom on the day of the removal without the teacher’s consent.

If the principal or the principal’s designee recommends returning a student to the classroom following the three removals and the teacher does not consent, the LEA’s Director of Schools must review the record and determine the appropriate action.  Finally, the legislation calls for the discipline policy to be disseminated to the students, faculty, staff and parents or guardians of students.

“We must give our teachers the tools to maintain discipline in the classroom,” added Gresham.  “This legislation would go far to accomplish this.”

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