Bill Aims To Physically Protect Oklahoma Educators
OKLAHOMA CITY - From teaching to breaking up fights, some educators run the risk of getting the book thrown at them. They're protecting students, and now one lawmaker wants to protect them with a new law. However, that law could leave parents with few options for recourse.
Senate Bill 5 is aimed to protect school staff physically as well as from lawsuits, but some said that protection may go a little too far.
Video showed a 9-year-old Tecumseh boy who was restrained by police after he acted out in school. Police said they have to protect themselves and the school staff, but what if police aren't around? That's what Senate Bill 5 is aiming to address.
It states, "No education employee or person who is volunteering for a school shall be held liable for the use of necessary and reasonable force to control and discipline a student..."
Senator Ron Sharp said he does not believe everyone may be qualified to handle such situations.
“That's always something you have to be concerned about,” he said.
School staff is required to have training to deal with students in this manner as well as those with special needs or disabilities, but what about other staff members or even school volunteers?
“Other parents or even friends of parents who might go and drive someone to and from an event would be authorized by law to take action against your child and you would have no recourse,” attorney David Slane said. “This bill intends to say that you can't even bring a lawsuit.”
“You face a felony if you assault a school teacher,” Sharp said. “I don't care if you have learning disabilities or not, you face assault.”
Sharp said he wants to make sure school staff members, like bus drivers, have a right to control students. He also pointed out volunteers are supposed to undergo a background check, and that most parents want their children to be supervised.
“I think it's just expected that if a teacher is observing an assault upon their child from another child I think they expect the teacher to respond appropriately,” Sharp said.
“You take a parent's total ability to do anything about the action out of their hands,” Slane said.
Sharp said the bill will come on the senate floor Wednesday.