School resource officers in MN: Walz says special session is possible to clarify new law

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said he's open to the idea of a special session to address concerns surrounding the state's new law for school resource officers (SROs).

The new SRO law limits when officers are allowed to restrain students. Before the start of the school year, various law enforcement agencies announced they would be pulling their SROs out of schools due to confusion over a new law that guides the use of force. 

This has Minnesota Republicans calling on the governor to convene a special session to clarify the law

Walz was at Oak Grove Elementary School in Bloomington on Tuesday to kick off the start of the school year when he was asked about the need for a special session. He said, "We all want a solution" for SROs, noting some districts have worked it out and believe the language is clarified, while others have not.

"I think what we're trying to figure out is there a solution that works best to make sure that we have those trusted adults in the buildings where the districts want them to be, and that it satisfies everyone's need," Walz said. "I think at this point in time, we don't know what exactly that is going to look like. I'm certainly open to anything that provides a solution to that, and if that means the Legislature working it out to make sure we have it — and I just keep coming back to it, and I hope people don't miss the point of this: The issue around the use of force in these situations is such a rarity in these situations, the value of the SROs in the building is the adult relationships that are built long before anything happens. All of those things get averted when we have those relationships."

Walz said everyone wants school buildings to be safe and to make sure excessive force is not used on students, adding finding that middle ground "shouldn't be all that difficult."

If the Minnesota Legislature came to Walz with a solution, he said he'd consider a special session. He notes, though, that some districts have already found a solution without a special session, so that would be the goal.