LINCOLN – A proposed legislative bill is looking to give more authority to Nebraska teachers and administrators.
LB147, introduce by Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte to the Education Committee, would allow the use of necessary physical restraint to control a student who becomes physically violent. A teacher or administrator would not be subject to legal action or administrative discipline if they were acting in a reasonable manner.
The bill outlines “physical restraint” as holding the hands, wrists, or torso of a student to control their movements, and does that include the use of any mechanical device or binding a student to any object.
Groene believes that administrations have drifted away from discipline, and that the authority of a teacher in the classroom has been taken away. Groene says that the bill is designed to outline what a teacher can and cannot do when faced with a disruptive student.
The Nebraska School Psychologists Association is one of the organizations which are opposed to the bill, and detailed their reasons in a statement provided to News Channel Nebraska:
“The mission of School Psychologists is to improve students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. We recognize the behavioral and mental health challenges teachers face every day in the classroom. This is why NSPA opposes LB 147. We believe early intervention and prevention strategies improve outcomes for all students. Reactive approaches contribute to a more negative school climate associated with increased bullying, student behavior problems, dropping out of school, and low rates of student and teacher satisfaction. Additionally, decision making regarding physical restraint and classroom exclusion puts too great a burden on teachers. School Psychologists stand willing to support students and teachers by helping to create positive school climates that support prosocial behavior.”
Groene says that amendments to the bill are being worked on, and the hope is to get the bill out of committee next week.