Several lawmakers wish to support Alabama’s teachers as they argue and consider a bill to aid teachers in the classroom.
These lawmakers are working on a plan called “Teacher Bill of Rights.”
The bill worked its way through a legislative committee hearing on Tuesday, according to reports.
“Teachers have to put up with a bunch of crap that, in my opinion, they shouldn’t have to put up with,” Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville, one of the bill’s sponsors told the committee. Rich said he modeled the bill, HB214, after Louisiana’s Teacher Bill of Rights and consulted laws from other states, including California, Texas, and Missouri.
“Teachers are, to my knowledge, the only group of college-educated professionals that I know of that run the risk on a daily basis of being hit, kicked, slapped, scratched, what have you,” said Clint Daughtry, attorney for the Alabama Education Association.
The bill of rights covers 10 areas:
- The right to be free from frivolous lawsuits and immunity where appropriate,
- The right to use discipline, including corporal punishment, in accordance with board policy,
- The right to remove “persistently disruptive students” from the classroom, including when a student is “impudent” or “defiant,”
- The right to have their professional judgment respected by administrators when in accordance with board policy,
- The right to teach in a “safe, secure, and orderly environment that is conducive to learning,”
- The right to “be treated with civility and respect,”
- The right to communicate with parents and ask them to participate in “appropriate student disciplinary decisions,”
- The right to be free from excessive and burdensome paperwork,
- The right to have a mentor assigned to them when they first start teaching, and
- The right to have time to collaborate with other teachers during the school day or week.
Opponents of the law argued in the hearing that some of the added protections could make it more difficult to fire bad teachers.
“Something must be done to regain the respect teachers once held in our community,” said Stephen Bunt, the member services director for the Alabama Coalition of Educators.
His organization, he said, receives numerous calls every year from members who have been “mentally and/or physically abused in schools by students from grades as early kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade.”
The committee could vote as soon as next week on the bill.