TX Lawmaker wants teachers to defend themselves in the classroom
AUSTIN, Texas - A state representative wants to give teachers the right to defend themselves without fear in the classroom.
In a YouTube video, a student hurls items at a teacher in Baltimore. In another clip, a teacher in Philadelphia is shown unconscious after being assaulted by a student. Then, in New Jersey last month, cell phone video showed a student wrestling with a teacher and then taking him to the ground.
State Representative Dan Flynn says there is one constant in the videos--the teachers are taking the abuse and not doing anything to defend themselves.
"If someone takes a swing at you, you ought to be able to put your arm up to block the swing and teachers are even reluctant to do that," he said.
Flynn says the same thing has happened in his district in East Texas.
"I had a teacher that was assaulted. I had the local police chief when he came into help, [the student did a] head butt on him and sent him to the hospital for a concussion," Flynn said.
Two weeks ago, Del Valle High School student Michael Guerrero was sentenced to three years of community supervision for attempted assault. His teacher says Guerrero shoved a desk into her hitting her in the chest and nearly knocking the wind out of her.
After hearing the stories and talking with teachers, Flynn filed House Bill 868. It would allow an educator to use force or deadly force in defense of themselves or their students.
"Time and time again I've been told about teachers that feel like they just do not have the authority to do anything even if a student is grabbing them, they're reluctant to even grab their arm because that could be misconstrued as an assault on a student and they're afraid they'd lose their job," Flynn said.
Flynn not only wants teachers to not worry about losing their jobs, but he also wants to eliminate the threat of a lawsuit. The bill calls for civil immunity.
"All we're trying to do is give a teacher a certain amount of comfort that if they do protect themselves that they're not going to end up losing their jobs," said Flynn.
The law would apply not only to the school grounds, but a school bus, or at any school-sponsored event. Should this bill become law, it would take effect on September 1st.
Read the entire bill here.