Legislator pushes for 'Teacher Protection Act'

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MADISON - Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, has introduced legislation known as the "Teacher Protection Act" targeting violence in the classroom.

The Teacher Protection Act was released in response to a report by Dan O'Donnell, "Blood on our Blackboard," revealing stories of teachers' physical assaults and associated issues.

The bill requires the administrator to notify law enforcement within 24 hours after learning of a physical assault or violent crimes by a student at school.

It also would require law enforcement to report information on student felonies or certain misdemeanors to administrators and teachers.

The bill also creates certain rights for teachers such as removing a student under certain circumstances for two consecutive days; using reasonable and necessary force under certain circumstances; requesting a school board schedule a suspension hearing when it's been denied by the administrator; the right of a teacher to terminate a contract without penalty if the teacher is a victim of physical assault or violent crime in the classroom.

The bill would require the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to include information about suspensions and expulsions in addition to numbers of physical assaults by pupils on staff as well as adults not employed by the district.

In a press release, Theisfeldt said too many teachers operate in an environment where violence and threats of violence are common and students get little or no disciplinary action from administration.

In the most recent national data from the U.S. Department of Education, one fourth of all Wisconsin teachers reported experiencing either a physical attack (11.3 percent) or being threatened with injury (13.7 percent) by a student in the previous 12 months.

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