Pasco school employee union asserts teacher rights in dealing with student fights
United School Employees of Pasco leaders want to make sure district leaders understand the role teachers play in breaking up school fights.
Union leaders this week published an advisory to members this week reminding them that they may use "reasonable force" when necessary. The message came on the heels of a fight at Ridgewood High, after which a district spokesperson told a television station that teachers should not get in the middle of a student fight.
The district should be backing teachers as they intervene to restore order and protect student safety, the USEP advisory stated.
"In making this public statement, the District's spokesperson not only undermined the authority of staff (granted in statute, contract, Board Policy, and this Student Code of Conduct) to act in a manner necessary to ensure the safety of students, but painted a public image for our District which suggests that the employees of this District will NOT act in the interest of student safety," the group wrote. "This is obviously a potentially dangerous misperception. At the very least, those statements were read by our employees as the District's unwillingness to back and support their actions at a time when failure to respond simply was not an option."
The message also coincided with the School Board's approval of the 2016-17 student code of conduct, which revises the disciplinary consequences for students who misbehave.