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Oklahoma State Senate
Republican Floor Leader
Senator Owen Laughlin, R-Woodward
State Capitol Room 519
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
(405) 521-5626

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For Immediate Release: May 12, 2008

Sen. Owen Laughlin
Sen. Owen Lauglin

State Senate Sends Another Lawsuit Reform Bill to Henry

The Oklahoma Senate voted 26 to 22 today to pass the School Protection Act, a bipartisan lawsuit reform bill providing teachers and schools protections from lawsuits. Last month the House of Representatives passed the bill by a 94 to 0 vote. It now goes to Gov. Brad Henry.

The School Protection Act, Senate Bill 1024, is authored by State Senate Co-Floor Leader Owen Laughlin, R-Woodward, and State Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa.

“The School Protection Act protects teachers and principals from lawsuit abuse, giving school professionals the tools they need to maintain order, discipline, and a positive educational environment,” stated Laughlin.

“Too many teachers and schools are fearful that if they take common sense steps to maintain or restore order in the classroom, they will be subjected to lawsuits. Defending a lawsuit is expensive, even when the school wins,” Laughlin said.

Laughlin urged Henry to sign the bill.

“I’m a little concerned because the governor’s knee-jerk instinct is to veto any meaningful lawsuit reform bill that provides protections from lawsuit abuse. But we hope this time he will join the Legislature in helping our teachers and schools. I encourage him to sign SB 1024 into law,” Laughlin said.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SCHOOL PROTECTION ACT:

• Provides liability protection for losses or claims resulting from the use of “necessary and reasonable force” by a school district employee to control and discipline a student during the time the student is in attendance or in transit to and from the school, or at a school function.

• Provides liability protection for actions taken in good faith by a school district employee for the out-of-school suspension of a student pursuant to applicable Oklahoma Statutes.

• Awards attorneys’ fees and court costs to school districts that successfully defend a lawsuit against the district or an education employee.

• Makes it a crime for students to falsely accuse education employees of criminal activity.

For more information contact:
Sen. Laughlin's Office:  (405) 521-5626

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