Minnesota House to Consider Bill Reversing Ban on Prone Restraints by School Resource Officers

Credits: MPR News

A House bill aiming to ease restrictions on school resource officers (SROs) is set for its first-floor vote on Monday, following negotiations between legislators and law enforcement officials.

The bill comes in response to a sweeping education law signed by Gov. Tim Walz last spring, which placed limitations on how and when police officers stationed in public schools could restrain students. These restrictions led to several agencies suspending their SRO programs.

The new legislation would exempt police from the rules educators must follow to restrain students, instead establishing a set of standards and training for police officers and sheriff’s deputies stationed in schools.

Minnesota House Members (Credits: Reddit)

About 40 agencies suspended their SRO programs due to concerns over potential legal liabilities for their employees, but a handful reinstated their on-campus presence after guidance from the attorney general’s office.

The executive directors for three organizations representing Minnesota law enforcement officials expressed support for the legislation in a joint letter, emphasizing the importance of restoring SRO programs.

However, they criticized legislators for not including law enforcement officials in discussions when the bill was passed last year and requested more engagement in future legislation affecting police roles and duties.

On the other hand, a coalition of educators and advocates supporting the bill’s training provisions raised concerns about the legislation allowing officers to place students in prone positions, even in limited circumstances. They argued that this approach does not prioritize the well-being of students.

Despite these concerns, lawmakers made only minor changes to the bill after its introduction. Amendments included pushing back training deadlines and relaxing language regarding a dress code for police officers and sheriff’s deputies. The bill’s upcoming vote indicates a potential resolution to the issues surrounding SRO programs in Minnesota schools.

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