A scaled back version of a bill aimed at safeguarding teachers and addressing violent behavior in schools cleared the Assembly tonight 58-36.

The so called “Teacher Protection Act,” from Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, now only consists of a provision to allow teachers who were the victims of an attack by a student to avoid penalties for breaking their contract, after lawmakers today adopted a new substitute amendment via voice vote.

The original, much broader bill, would have let teachers review their students’ behavioral records; give teachers the ability to appeal directly to their school board if administration refuses to suspend a student; and require police to notify school administrators if a student is taken into custody for a violent felony or misdemeanor, among other things.

Dems, meanwhile, argued the bill wouldn’t better protect teachers and instead represents a flawed policy that Rep. Sondy Pope said would “exacerbate an already existing teacher shortage.”

But Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, countered the bill could help prevent teachers from leaving the profession, as it seeks to help curb assaults on teachers and give them some “physical security while on the job.”

Reps. James Edming, R-Glen Flora, and Nancy VanderMeer, R-Tomah, joined all Dems in voting against the bill.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

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