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Under Safety Bill, Teachers Given Option of Using Force

How are teachers supposed to deal with violent acts in school? Next week Missouri Lawmakers will vote on a bill that aims to answer that question. KSMU’s Nathan McVay has more.

House Bill 96 is meant to give schools and teachers more power to enforce dress code, keep violent students away from school activities, and allow teachers to use force to prevent or interrupt a violent situation.

Representative Maynard Wallace is a Republican from Thornfield. He presented his bill for the third year after his attempts in previous years failed.

After almost unanimous approval from the House last year, the bill was ignored and died on the Senate floor.

But as the new year begins, Wallace again has proposed his bill and, with a certain level of optimism.

‘We’ve got high hopes. First of all we are moving the bill quicker this year. Hopefully it should be one of the earlier bills on the house floor. And assuming we have the same support we had last year we will get it to the Senate at a much quicker date and hopefully they will pick it up much quicker,’ he said.

If the bill passes through the House and Senate, teachers will be allowed to use physical force to prevent violent acts from occurring at school. Wallace says each school board would be allowed to set their own policies regarding what would be acceptable.

“Where we started with was simply saying, if a teacher witnesses someone biting or somebody getting beat up we want that teacher or other school employee to be willing to step in and stop that without fear of legal action against them,” he said.

Wallace says schools, parents and children across Missouri need the bill.

“A school should be the safest place on earth for any child. A child should be able to feel safe in school, they should be able to come into a school and not think they are going to be harassed or bullied or exposed to some of the things they are,’ he said.

The bill would also require schools to report violent student incidents to all teachers. It would also require violent acts to be noted on a student’s records and transcripts. For KSMU news I’m Nathan McVay.

TAG:The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill this coming Tuesday.