Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: March 20, 2017
Senate approves bill to protect school employees
from violent students
The Senate approved Senate Bill 81 Monday to better protect elementary
teachers and school employees from violent students. Sen.
Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, said the legislation was requested by
Oklahoma Professional Educators who noted that violence in elementary
schools is increasing at an alarming rate.
“Unfortunately, we have more and more children being raised
in homes where they or others are being abused, neglected or exposed
to some kind of violence. Children then bring those emotional problems
to the classroom where they act out against others creating a dangerous
environment,” said Sharp. “Teachers aren’t counselors
and these children may need to be removed from the classroom so
their families can address their issues or the school counselors
can help them.”
The bill would provide the same punishment options for school employees
for violent third through fifth graders as is already provided for
sixth through twelfth grade including out-of-school suspension.
The bill also provides a new minimum five-day or less suspension
option at the discretion of the superintendent on a case by case
basis as an alternative to the semester or yearlong suspension in
current law. The shorter suspension time also would now allow a
teacher of a violent student to request that student be moved to
another class. Currently, teachers can only ask that a student be
moved after receiving the semester or yearlong suspension. The measure
allows the use of youth services agencies like the Office of Juvenile
Affairs and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
in cases when necessary where out-of-school suspension would not
be beneficial to a student.
“I don’t like the idea of suspending young students
but obviously they need help that a classroom teacher can’t
provide,” said Sharp. “We have an obligation to ensure
the safety of our schools and classrooms. This is simply another
tool for schools and parents to use to address student violence.”
SB 81, co-authored by Rep. Jadine Nollan, now moves the House for
further consideration. Title was struck on the bill before being
approved by the Senate.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Sharp: (405) 521-5539