SB 1989 is a bill worth watching. It would do three important things:
- Significantly change our laws pertaining to the use of physical restraint and “time out.”
- Repeal the statute that authorizes the use of corporal punishment, and the parental “opt out.”
- Repeal the statute that allows educators to use non-deadly force as appropriate in dealing with disruptive students, and the immunity from discipline that goes with it.
Let’s focus for today on that last point. Currently, Texas Penal Code 9.62 allows educators to use non-deadly force with students “when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is necessary to further the special purpose of the group or to maintain discipline in a group.” Another statute—T.E.C. 22.0512—protects teachers from disciplinary action based on the teacher’s use of force as authorized by the Penal Code provision. So if a teacher uses physical force with a student that meets the standards of Penal Code 9.62, the teacher cannot be nonrenewed or terminated based on that use of force.
This Senate Bill, if enacted, would repeal the Penal Code provision and replace it with a new Subchapter J in Chapter 37. That subchapter (Use of Restraint, Seclusion and Time-Out) provides much less flexible standards governing the use of physical force.
I don’t think teachers are going to like this. Assistant principals will not be crazy about it either. Let’s keep an eye on it.
DAWG BONE: PROTECTION FROM EMPLOYMENT ACTION BASED ON USE OF FORCE IS ONE OF THE FEW RIGHTS OUR NON-UNIONIZED TEACHERS HAVE. THIS BILL PUTS THAT AT RISK.
Tomorrow: The risks of relying on certified mail.