Thursday, February 19, 2009

House passes Teacher Protection Act

Dr. Jerry Giger, Superintendent, Jane Haskell, President of Rolla School District, Dr. Aaron Zalis, Assistant Superintendent, School Board Member Kelly Long present State Representative Dan Brown with a plaque thanking him for support of Rolla Public Schools.

By Dan Brown

State Representative

This week the House passed House Bill 96, known as the Teacher Protection Act. It changes the laws regarding school employee liability, safety practices and reporting acts of violence. It gives teachers the ability to maintain order as long as they follow established school policy. Most importantly, the bill allows school employees to focus on teaching without worrying about litigation.

One of the most important parts of the bill outlines new discipline procedures to defend teachers who use force to protect their students and property. A good teacher is one who has a disciplined classroom. The Teacher Protection Act gives teachers the ability to construct a controlled classroom without fear of frivolous lawsuits. If a student’s actions are destructive, an educator should be able to correct this to ensure student productivity and safety. That way, it allows students and teachers to focus on learning instead of classroom management.

This bill also allows all teachers and administrators to be aware of acts of violence throughout the school. Suspended students would not be allowed on school property without specific permission and would be prohibited from attending off campus school sponsored activities. Furthermore, it requires a notice of reportable offenses to be attached to an offending student's record and transcript. All of these provisions are aimed at ensuring a safe learning environment for Missouri students. In addition, the Teacher Protect Act exempts unqualified employees who refuse to administer medication or medical services from disciplinary action and exempts qualified employees from any civil liability for administering medication or medical services. Teachers should be able to take the necessary steps to protect their student’s health.

I am a strong proponent of House Bill 96. I believe every child has a right to high quality education and I will continue working to provide a safe environment for our students and school employees. Educators and administrators should be able to effectively manage their schools without fear of being reprimanded. I am thankful that the Missouri House of Representatives is dedicated to education issues and that we were able to work together to pass the bill this session.

I also wanted to talk to you about a bill that would protect Missourians from the dangers associated with the closing of Guantanamo Bay. President Obama ordered the prison to be closed by the end of the year. The destination of these suspected terrorists is still in question. This session we are considering House Concurrent Resolution 16 which would oppose the use of Missouri’s airports, highways, railways and waterways for the transportation of these terror suspects. It would also express opposition to the sheltering of these terror suspects in our State as they are being transported to detention centers. Additionally, the resolution opposes granting these prisoners asylum in Missouri. We want our citizens to know we are committed to keeping terror suspects out of our State.
I had the pleasure of visiting with many groups this week including members from the Missouri School Boards’ Association, Missouri 4-H Legislative Academy, Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, Sharon Meusch, Executive Director of the Russell House in Rolla, President Gary Forsee and Chancellor John Carney from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Carol Green, our Phelps County Treasurer, St. James City Administrator David Watkins and Rolla City Administrator John Butz.

My main goal is to represent my constituents by carefully considering what is best for Missouri when legislation is brought to the House Floor. As we continue to make progress, I will keep you posted and welcome any suggestions or opinions you may have. Please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at

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