MTI Opposes “Teacher Protection Act,” Supports Real Solutions for Teachers and Students

MTI joins WEAC and others in opposition to Assembly Bill 693, proposed legislation related to disruptive students introduced by Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt. The Bill was introduced November 29, has numerous Republican co-sponsors, and has been referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2017/proposals/ab693

While school safety is of paramount importance, our opposition is based on an analysis which shows the proposed legislation as presented:
· Infringes on student privacy rights;
· Focuses heavily on out-of-school incidents;
· Does not clearly define “taken into custody”;
· Potentially places teachers and administrators at odds with serious consequences over student discipline;
· Provides no requirement for training to defuse or de-escalate in-school incidents;
· Places little to no burden on parents or caregivers;
· Does not address the handling of students with special education needs;
· Will disproportionately affect students of color;
· Includes additional, unnecessary reporting categories for suspension and expulsions; and
· Does not attempt to address the root causes of student disruption and violence.

MTI believes that the best solutions for addressing disruptive behaviors and school safety come from teachers, parents, and students empowered to act on these matters in their local schools. That is where we will put our efforts to ensure that our schools are the best they can be for all staff and students. The legislature can demonstrate their concern for protection for our teachers and reestablish strong teacher voice for their students through restoration of full collective bargaining rights for public employees (thus restoring their voice at work) while investing the funds necessary to provide the support needed by our most vulnerable students and families.

In standing against the proposal, WEAC said they would like to see principles for protecting all educators on the job, not short-sighted legislation. Also coming out against AB 693 are the following public education groups and organizations have officially registered in opposition to this bill: Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, Disability Rights Wisconsin, Madison Metropolitan School District, National Alliance on Mental Illness at UW-Madison, The Arc Wisconsin, Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB), Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials, Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, Wisconsin Association of School Personnel Administrators, Wisconsin Council for Administrators of Special Services, Wisconsin Family Ties, and WREA-Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association.