January 25, 2024
Nate Crippes / Public Affairs Supervising Attorney
Andrew Riggle / Public Policy Advocate
(801) 363-1347 / (800) 662-9080
Good afternoon committee members. Nate Crippes with the Disability Law Center.
We want to speak in opposition to this bill. We have concerns with how this bill will impact students with disabilities. Allowing teachers to have the same authority to remove a student gives us concern because they are the ones who are supposed to be providing most of the support outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law protecting the rights of students with disabilities, and we can envision a teacher using this as a way to get rid of a troublesome student in a way that an administrator wouldn’t be incentivized to do. Additionally, allowing teachers to just kick kids out without running that by an administrator also dilutes the process.
Moreover, we have concerns that SB 137 allows LEAs to ignore non-binding guidance and letters from the federal government. This guidance is often designed to help LEAs understand obligations under federal law that protect the rights of students with disabilities. And the guidance is also often designed to prevent discrimination of students with disabilities, among others. While LEAs are offered this option, we do not believe this guidance should be ignored.
While we appreciate the desire to keep teachers safe, we believe the way to do that is to give them more support in the classroom, not to increase the number of people who can kick kids out.
Thank you for your time and consideration of our position.