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John Huber


New Laws Effective July 1 in Tennessee: Enhancing School Safety and Protecting Employees

Starting July 1, Tennessee will implement a series of new laws aimed at enhancing school safety, protecting the salaries of assaulted school employees, and increasing penalties for threats of mass violence in schools. These measures, passed by the Tennessee General Assembly, seek to address key issues faced by the state’s educational institutions and their staff.

School Employee Salary Protection

One of the significant changes is a law that mandates public and charter schools to provide full salary or average salary along with full benefits to any employee who is physically assaulted and consequently unable to work. This move is in response to the alarming statistics highlighted in the Tennessee Safe Schools Report, which recorded 1,918 cases of assault and 71 cases of aggravated assault against school staff during the 2022-23 school year. This law ensures that assaulted employees do not suffer financially while they recover.


School Resource Officers (SROs)

Addressing the shortage of school resource officers, another new law now permits local law enforcement to assign SROs to schools. This comes after reports that 500 schools in Tennessee did not have an SRO in the past school year despite the availability of state funding. Additionally, the new legislation allows retired officers to be employed as SROs in public schools without losing or suspending their retirement benefits. This provision is expected to bolster the presence of experienced law enforcement personnel in schools, thereby enhancing security and safety for students and staff.


Penalties for Threats of Violence

The new laws also introduce stricter penalties for making threats of violence in schools. Any threat to commit mass violence on school property or at a school activity is now classified as a Class E felony. Furthermore, students who threaten violence against other students will face a Class B misdemeanor. These enhanced penalties aim to deter potential threats and ensure a safer environment for all members of the school community.

These new laws, effective from July 1, represent a significant step forward in protecting school employees, ensuring the presence of resource officers, and deterring threats of violence. Tennessee’s commitment to school safety and employee protection reflects the state’s proactive approach to creating a secure and supportive educational environment.

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The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.