Law would force public schools to expel students who assault teacher

A bill introduced in the Minnesota Senate Education Committee would require public school districts to expel students who assault a teacher. The Teacher Protection Act, authored by Sen. Dave Brown (R-Becker), states: “A school board must expel a student who assaults a teacher. The duration of the expulsion is at the discretion of the school board...A student expelled under this section cannot be placed in the classroom of the assaulted teacher unless the teacher agrees to the placement.”

"This bill protects our public school teachers,” Sen. Brown said. “We’ve had expulsion if you bring a firearm to school, you’re automatically expelled for one year.  If you bring a toy firearm to school, that’s a misdemeanor. So we can do things to protect our teachers when they’re teaching the classroom.”

Those testifying against the bill at Thursday morning’s committee hearing included the mother of a student with autism, who worries the bill would apply to kids who can't control themselves. Assault, as defined in the bill, may not apply in these cases, because intent would have to be a factor in the assault.

The proposal comes amid a swelling of reports of teachers being assaulted by students at public schools in both St. Paul and Minneapolis. 

MAR. 14 - Teacher breaking up fight hit by student at Johnson HS in St. Paul

MAR. 9 - Video shows 2 students slamming St. Paul teacher to the ground

MAR. 2 - St. Paul teacher officially sues district after violent assault

JAN. 6 - Minneapolis school principal attacked by student, still recovering weeks later

DEC. 8 - St. Paul student assaults teacher, causes traumatic brain injury

There was no vote on this bill Thursday. In legislative terms, it was laid over for later consideration. But when you’re a member of the minority party, as Sen. Brown is, that typically means the bill will not go any further this session.