“It is unfair to hold teachers responsible for the progress of persistently disruptive students in their evaluations”
(NASHVILLE, TN), February 6, 2012 – State Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman) today said he is a co-sponsor of two bills filed in the Tennessee General Assembly to give teachers more authority and protection in disciplining students. One proposal, Senate Bill 3122, would give teachers protection from civil liability when defending themselves or when they have to intervene in a physical altercation. The other measure, Senate Bill 3116, gives teachers basic rights to control their classroom and remove consistently disruptive or violent students.
“Teachers cannot teach when they have persistently disruptive students in their classroom,” said Senator Yager. “It is also unfair to hold teachers responsible for the progress of disruptive students who are out of their control. This legislation establishes a procedure to remove a student to an alternative educational setting if they continue with disruptive behavior.”
Senate Bill 3116 requires local Boards of Educations to clearly establish a complete policy regarding a teacher’s ability to remove a student from the classroom and relocated the student to another educational location for the student’s safety or the safety of others. The bill also allows teachers to intervene in a physical altercation between tow or more students or a student and another school employee if necessary to end the fight.
“Teachers can risk being sued if they step in to stop a fight,” said Senator Yager. “This should not be the case. If a teacher intervenes in a physical altercation to break up a fight while students are under their watch, or if they are simply defending themselves, they should not have to fear being sued.”
The legislation applies to altercations on school property, as well as at official school functions or sporting events. The bill requires principals to support the authority of teachers who take such action if it is done in accordance with the proposed law and the school’s policies.
“We must give our teachers the tools to maintain discipline in the classroom,” added Yager. “These bills would go far to accomplish this.”