(AP Lincoln NE March 4, 2023) Nebraska lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow teachers and school staff to physically restrain disruptive students and remove them from classrooms without fear of being disciplined, even as critics say physical restraint has been used disproportionately against minority and disabled students.
State Sen. Dave Murman, who introduced the bill, told the Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee on Tuesday that the bill is needed to protect teachers and students, recounting news reports of violent behavior by elementary aged students in several instances across the state. The action comes as the national debate over unruly students and how to handle them has ramped up in recent months.
While the Nebraska bill specifically prohibits the use of physical contact to inflict pain or as punishment for a student’s behavior, civil liberties advocates oppose the policy, largely out of concern that it would make Black and Native American students and those with disabilities more likely to be removed from classrooms.
The Nebraska committee will determine at a later date whether to advance the bill to the full Legislature.