Walz signs SRO bill into law

Governor Tim Walz signed a bill giving guidance to school resource officers into law on Thursday.

After the House and Senate approved slightly different versions of the bill, the differences were hammered out in a conference committee. The House then reapproved the bill on Wednesday before the Senate sent it to Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday.

It was sent to the governor’s desk seven months after the SRO controversy first arose just before the start of a new school year. Some law enforcement officials then expressed concerns that changes made by state lawmakers last year to ban certain physical restraints on students wouldn’t allow SROs to do their jobs but would keep them liable for failing to intervene. That led some agencies to suspend their SRO programs, although many others continued their programs.

The clarifications will again allow more latitude for SROs while still prohibiting any school employees from placing students in the “prone” restraint. It will also require law enforcement agencies with an SRO program to have a written SRO policy and for SROs to undergo training.

“Every child deserves a world-class education and a learning environment that is safe, supportive, and healthy. As integral members of their school community, school resource officers serve students and teachers day in and day out. This bill provides comprehensive guidance and clarity, allowing school resource officers to continue to do their jobs effectively,” Walz said. “I’m grateful to legislators, school leaders, education advocates, youth voices, and law enforcement for working together to get this done and ensure we’re keeping our kids safe.” 

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