NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The bill that would allow school security officers to use “mechanical restraints” on special needs children in Tennessee schools is done for this legislative session.
HB0127, brought by Hamilton County Republican Greg Martin, would allow for any “school resource officer, school security officer, or other law enforcement officer” to “use a mechanical restraint on a student receiving special education services in an emergency situation.”
Martin told News 2 in January when he filed the bill that the intent was to “protect our school security officers” so they could “help manage behavioral problems,” and he was asked by the Hamilton County School Board attorney to introduce the legislation.
Currently, only school resource officers can put a child receiving special education in handcuffs.
School security officers (SSOs) differ from school resource officers (SROs) in that SSOs are not sworn law enforcement officers and don’t require the same amount of training that SROs do. SSOs are also hired directly by the schools where they work, while SROs are provided by law enforcement—usually through the sheriff’s office or police department.
The bill never made it past the House Education Administration Subcommittee, failing in said committee on March 21. The Senate version of the bill was moved to the General Subcommittee of the Senate Education Committee, effectively killing that side’s consideration for the year.
While the Senate could take up the measure again in 2024, the bill has no future in this legislative session with the failure in the House subcommittee.
Hundreds of bills will be up for debate during the 113th General Assembly. Tennessee lawmakers shared their thoughts on some of the major issues up for discussion at this year’s legislative session.
What lawmakers had to say about: Abortion Ban Clarification | Marijuana Reform | Transgender Therapy and LGBTQ+ Rights | Dept. of Children’s Services | Education | Crime/Public Safety | More
You can also find daily coverage from the session here.