A Texas state representative has proposed an especially worrisome piece of legislation recently, titled the Teacher’s Protection Act.
The Act, H.B. 868, would authorize teachers to use “force or deadly force on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event in defense of the educator’s person or in defense of students of the school that employs the educator.”
In addition, the act would give teachers and staff the right to use deadly force “in defense of property of the school that employs the educator.”
Even more disturbing is that the school staff members who engage in deadly force would be granted Civil immunity. Teachers who apply deadly force would not be liable for the injury or death of a student.
ThinkProgress.org points out that, such a bill could have disastrous consequences for students of color. A coalition of civil rights organizations found that black and Latino students face much higher rates of disciplinary action in schools, which exacerbates the so-called school-to-prison pipeline. By extension, if students of color are already disproportionately targeted by school authorities for their behavior, they could also become the targets of deadly force used by educators.
The bill is proposed by Texas Rep. Dan Flynn (R), a staunch gun rights advocate. This legislation goes far beyond gun rights, however.
Guaranteeing that a teacher would not be held liable for the death of students by granting automatic immunity in instances of violence, opens the door for abuse.
Of course, the act of self-defense is an inalienable right that shall not be infringed. All individuals, not just teachers have the right to protect themselves from harm. But removing accountability through the granting of immunity is entirely irresponsible and dangerous.
It’s bad enough that police officers can indiscriminately kill without facing consequences or the scrutiny of due diligence, but expanding this blanket of unaccountability to teachers, not trained in engaging or assessing true threats, could prove to be catastrophic.