Tennessee Teacher Discipline Act Passes General Assembly


According the Chaulkbeat, a bill aimed at empowering Tennessee teachers to remove chronically disruptive students from their classrooms cleared the legislature Thursday over objections that such exclusionary disciplinary practices ignore deeper problems.

The Senate’s 25-8 vote came following an 81-15 vote in the House on Monday. The House is expected to concur next week on one minor change in language and send the bill to Gov. Bill Lee for his signature.

If the governor signs the measure as expected, the Teacher’s Discipline Act will create a uniform referral process allowing teachers to petition to remove students who repeatedly or substantially interfere with classroom learning. The policy is championed by the Professional Educators of Tennessee, which says out-of-control behavior by some students is driving teachers out of the profession.

The renewed emphasis on potentially punitive discipline comes as educators brace for a wave of social and emotional challenges from students as a result of the pandemic.

Opponents argue the bill, while well-intentioned, could take Tennessee backward. In recent years, the state increasingly has embraced restorative disciplinary approaches that deal with bad behavior without punishing offenders. The tactics also take into account adverse childhood experiences such as physical or mental abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction, which can lead to disruptive behaviors.

“When a teacher faces a disciplinary issue like this, removing the unruly student from the classroom isn’t the problem; the problem is getting that student the help they need so they can be reinstated into the classroom and achieve academically and behaviorally,” said Sen. Page Walley, one of two Senate Republicans who voted against the bill.

HB 0016 states, “Teachers, Principals and School Personnel – As introduced, enacts the “Teacher’s Discipline Act”; establishes a process for a teacher to request the removal of a student from the teacher’s classroom if the student’s behavior violates the LEA’s or school’s student discipline policy or code of conduct and repeatedly or substantially disrupts the class. – Amends TCA Title 49.”
To read full article visit: https://tn.chalkbeat.org/2021/3/11/22326158/tennessee-teachers-could-seek-to-remove-unruly-students-under-bill-approved-by-legislature