Proposed bill looks to give teachers more rights against violent students

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - A proposed bill looks to protect Wisconsin teachers from student violence. A Fond Du Lac lawmaker and former teacher crafted the legislation, spurred by incidents across the state like at Green Bay's Washington Middle School.

Republican State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt said as a former teacher he can tell it's time to give educators more rights.

“They don't feel supported by their administration in terms of the types of discipline that are necessary to keep the students in control so they can effectively teach the students,” said Rep. Thiesfeldt.

Thiesfeldt calls it a teacher "Bill of Rights". It would require police to notify the school when a student is involved in a violent crime, even if it's off campus. Also, if a teacher is a victim of violence by a student they could break their teaching contract if they no longer feel comfortable.

“Some of these teachers who have dealt with violent assault in school and have perhaps been out of school for a short or extended period of time, that's a traumatic thing to happen, some of them are afraid to go to work,” said Rep. Thiesfeldt.

We've reported extensively about violence issues at Washington Middle School in Green Bay. Action 2 News reached out to the district for reaction to this proposal and received a statement:

“Green Bay Area Public School District’s highest priority is student and staff safety. To that end we have invested significant resources in safety equipment (e.g., cameras, hand radios, etc.) and staff professional development in areas of non-violent crisis response, cultural competence and trauma informed care. To truly resolve student behaviors, we need to address root causes, which requires everyone being involved to address the underlying issues. We support and appreciate Governor Walker’s additional funding to make mental health services more available. Addressing concerns around student and staff safety requires a broader discussion and we have been engaging our community in conversations and are committed to ensuring all voices are heard.” - Green Bay Area Public School District

The bill is only in its beginning stages but could soon go through a committee process.