Legislature needs to clarify new school resource officer law
At the time of this writing, several communities have removed school resource officers (SROs) from schools in their districts.
The new law at issue, which passed as a portion of a larger education bill, bans SROs from putting students in a prone position or restrained holds. When this legislation moved through the Senate Education Policy Committee, Republicans voiced their concerns with this policy change and urged Democrats to talk with SROs about it.
However, Democrats ignored the issues raised and rushed this legislation through the committee process and into law. They even skipped over the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, where this bill should have gone.
With SROs stepping down across the state, we are now seeing the results of the Democrats’ rushed policy. At the center of this issue is law enforcement officers’ concern with the new law banning SROs from using techniques to de-escalate unsafe situations and keep our students and school staff safe.
In a letter to membership, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) shared, “The unintended consequences of this new law limit the lawful authority of SROs to keep children safe at school and those contracted with school districts to provide safety to the students, players, and staff. SROs are counted on to support students and staff safety and must have a clear understanding and meaningful procedures and training in place before the implementation of any law.”
Legislative Republicans joined law enforcement and school leaders to propose legislation to fix the SRO change that has put students and school safety at risk. The bill as proposed simply repeals the recent law change eliminating prone restraints or physical holds and repeals the change to use of force standards to revert back to the original language that was in statue.
The change does not impact the 2021 bill that banned all neck and chokehold restraints and remains in place for students and all Minnesotans. Republican Senate and House Minority Leaders also sent a letter (attached) to Gov. Tim Walz requesting a special session to address this issue.
As your state senator, I will continue to work to find a bipartisan solution where SROs, students, and staff can feel safe in their schools.
— Gary Dahsm represents District 15 in the Minnesota Senate