A group of 44 Minnesota DFL legislators released a statement Thursday opposing calls for a special legislative session to fix a new law impacting school resource officers (SROs).
This comes after Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signaled he is open to the idea of a special session to revise the law, which prohibits SROs in cases where there is no threat of bodily harm or death from using the prone restraint or any force that “places pressure or weight on a pupil’s head, throat, neck, chest, lungs, sternum, diaphragm, back, or abdomen.”
At least 16 police agencies have pulled their SROs from schools because of the new law while the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and other law enforcement groups have asked for clarity on the issue.
The DFL legislators said in their joint statement Thursday that these groups have “misrepresented both the intent and the impact of this law.”
More than 40% of #mnleg DFL members (44 between House and Senate combined) go on record opposing a special session to repeal a new law around physical restraint standards in schools.
The law approved this spring has led to a pullback of school resource officers in some places. pic.twitter.com/5yC0rjLNZc
— Brian Bakst (@Stowydad) September 7, 2023
“This has been the law for students in special education for more than a decade, and now it applies to all students,” they said. “The law does not change the test for reasonable force, as some opponents have claimed. Further, the use of prone restraints was banned in correctional facilities in 2021. If officers working in prisons can do their jobs without the use of these dangerous restraints, then surely those working with our children can do the same.”
The legislators said they would oppose efforts to repeal the law, saying this would “take us backwards.”
“Repealing this law would make our schools less safe and remove critical measures that are necessary to protect students in their learning environment,” they said.
Below is a list of legislators who signed the statement: