A new bill would allow teachers in Texas to use deadly force against their students, while keeping those teachers safe from prosecution.
The Teacher’s Protection Act would allow teachers the ability to use either force or deadly force in order to protect themselves against a student or anyone else they feel threatened by who is on school grounds. Teachers would also be allowed to use deadly force in order to protect school property. Teachers who need to do this would not face prosecution “for injury or death that results from the educator’s use of deadly force.”
Teachers in the state are already allowed to carry guns on school grounds and have been given the right to use them “to protect our students.” Any teacher who wishes to carry a weapon must obtain a license, pass a psychological exam and receive training, writes Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post.
The bill, filed last week in the state House, came shortly before video footage went viral portraying a New Jersey physics teacher being body-slammed by his ninth-grade student. The video clearly shows the teacher purposely avoiding fighting back or even touching the student, writes Lauren McGaughy for The Houston Chronicle.
The Association of Texas Professional Educators would like to see these issues settled at a local level. According to current Texas law, educators who use “reasonable force” against a student are not subjected to disciplinary proceedings. The new bill would add extra protection for teachers, as the law also states the “use of force, but not deadly force, against a (student) is justified.”
According to Monty Exter, lobbyist for the ATPE, the bill would not add additional protection for teachers that are not already in existence for every citizen of Texas who claims self-defense. “We understand he’s trying to carve out some liability protections. But, we can’t see that the liability protection in that particular bill is any different than the protection that exists in law for a regular citizen.”
“Educators in Texas actually do have some legal protections that do allow them to use physical force to protect themselves and protect others, as long as the use of physical force is reasonable,” said ATPE managing attorney Paul Tapp.
A public poll on the issue currently ongoing on Cleveland.com has resulted in a fairly even result. When asked if support should be given to a law that would teachers in Ohio to use deadly force against a student in order to protect themselves, 137 people out of 265, or 51.7% voted yes. Meanwhile, 116 people, or 43.77%, voted that they would not support such a law, and 12 people, or 4.53%, voted that they might support a law like that.