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Like other states, Iowa is experiencing increasing incidents of violence against teachers, classroom disruptions inhibiting an environment of learning, and a climate of uncertainty in many our schools. The status quo is not acceptable, and Iowa schools need help to properly deal with this problem. SSB 3080 creates policy, and funding solutions, to give schools a chance to help students with serious violent behavior problems, to ensure the education for other students is not shortchanged, and to keep our teachers safe.

This bill limits the use of “classroom clears” as a regular method of student behavioral management. A classroom clear happens when all the students except a student with behavioral challenges leave the room during a student’s outburst. This technique disrupts the learning of too many Iowa students.

SSB 3080 would prohibit classroom clears from being written into an individual education plan (IEP). If a classroom clear occurs, the parents of students who are displaced from a classroom must be notified by the school district within 24 hours, and the parents of a student responsible for a classroom clear must meet with school administration prior to that student returning to the classroom.

Further, SSB 3080 creates an incentive for schools to establish alternative placement options for students with serious behavioral problems. Some students need alternative settings to succeed academically. This bill also creates comprehensive professional development on the meaning of “least restrictive environment,” giving administration and teachers clarity on classroom placement options.

This new policy also provides teachers training and legal protection from professional and legal liability for using reasonable physical contact in crisis situations. It creates comprehensive, statewide training and professional development for teachers on violent student behavior. Additionally, SSB 3080 clarifies legal protection for teachers and adds professional protections from retaliation for reporting incidents. It also requires teachers to report violent behavior to their principal and encourages them to report incidents to the Department of Public Safety.

Like every new legislative session, there are a plethora of other bills working through the subcommittee and full committee process.  As we move forward, please feel free to contact me with thoughts and concerns you have.  Our representative form of government starts with you.

Author: Ken Rozenboom