Texas Republican Dan Flynn Wants Deadly Forced Used In The Classroom
A new Texas bill on the legislation floor has news outlets spinning out of control. Recently, many videos of students attacking teachers have gone viral, causing discussion as to what is and isn’t allowed in the classroom and how far teachers and administrators should go when defending themselves. Texas State Republican Dan Flynn (R) has proposed a highly extreme solution to the problem.
H.B. 868, or better known as the Teacher’s Protection Act, will allow teachers and administrators to use deadly force on students if the situation calls for it. The proposed bill was entered into legislation last week and has been a controversial topic given its clear definition of excused liability. The bill states “force or deadly force on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event in defense of the educator’s person or in defense of students of the school that employs the educator.” This deadly force can apply also when “in defense of property of the school that employs the educator.” Basically, if a teacher feels a student (or even intruder on a school campus) is a threat in any sense, she or he is allowed to murder that person without legal repercussions.
This leaves room for question that Flynn had not considered (or has but doesn’t find necessary). For instance, what is considered enough of a threat to allow deadly force to be used? In a state where teachers have been allowed to use physical force on students since 1994 (as stated in the state’s Penal Code) and can carry firearms into the classroom (enforced after the shooting at Sandy Hook), what more needs to be required to “protect teachers?”
“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 Paul Tapp, Association of Texas Professional Educators managing attorney.
“We understand he [Flynn] is trying to carve out some liability protections,” said the ATPE legal team, “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.” Thinkprogress.org writers say this kind of bill will be disastrous for youth of color.
“A coalition of civil rights organizations found that Black and Latino students face much higher rates of disciplinary action in schools, which exacerbates the so-called school-to-prison pipeline,” the article reads. “By extension, if students of color are already disproportionately targeted by school authorities for their behavior, they could also become the targets of deadly force used by educators.”
Flynn, who is one of the strongest supporters of gun-rights advocates for the state of Texas, is attempting to get the Act instated as soon as possible. If passed, the Act will need two thirds of the vote to be effective immediately, as provided by Section 39, Article III of the Texas Constitution. However, if the Act doesn’t get the required amount of votes, Section 2 of the Act says it will be in full effect beginning September of 2015.
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