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Legislative Positions

Memo: NSEA Supports AB285

NSEA supports AB285 as a common sense proposal to help ensure educator safety.
AB286NSEA Support
Published: 03/15/2023 Last Updated: 05/17/2023

AB285 strikes an important balance between ensuring educator and school safety with progressive student discipline, while also maintaining the overall framework of restorative justice. AB285 includes language to authorize the suspension, expulsion, or permanent expulsion of a student who commits a battery or assault against an employee of a school, but also provides a student removed from a classroom for more than 2 days with an option to receive education and support services in an in-person setting. This language reflects NSEA’s initial position on AB168 in 2019, especially in cases when a student is a threat to a teacher. NSEA also appreciates the proposed amendment to AB285 to require the collection of data during each disciplinary action related to school vacancies, class sizes, and ratios of counselors, psychologists, and social workers.

High-profile school violence events are not new and not limited to El Dorado High School in 2022 or the 2013 shooting at Sparks Middle School. NSEA has consistently heard alarming concerns about personal safety from our members across the state. That’s why we have a long history of engagement on the issue of educator safety and student disciplinary practice. NSEA spearheaded the creation of the progressive student discipline system decades ago and during the 2019 session, we were the only stakeholder group raising public concerns about the implementation of restorative justice in AB168. We believe a strong restorative discipline system could reduce incidents where educators sustain injuries. However, this system needs to be proactive and requires significantly more training, attention, and resources.

Since the pandemic, the situation in schools has deteriorated. The pandemic exacerbated mental health issues. And a historic educator shortage, with thousands of vacant positions across the state in addition to the structural shortage with the largest class sizes in the country, makes it nearly impossible to implement even the best plans for school safety and student discipline. Unfortunately, AB168 had a delayed and poor statewide implementation leaving many schools and school districts unsure about the student discipline system, opting for little to no student discipline at all. Educators coined the phrase “restore at the door” to describe the approach many administrators have taken, opting to send disruptive students back into classes after a brief conversation in the hall. This has only made classrooms and schools less safe. Meaningful resources for student mental health and significant investment in the implementation of restorative justice are necessary for the system to have a chance to work. And this needs to go hand in hand with commonsense changes like the ones proposed in AB285

NSEA talks about the Respect Educators Act to elevate the safety, well-being, and autonomy of educators in their work. This includes real accountability for any violence committed against educators and giving educators the tools necessary to deal with disruptive behavior. The Respect Educators Act also calls for the creation of a monitoring committee including educators from across the state, legislators, and NDE to gain a clear understanding of the impact of the laws, ensure consistent implementation, and secure protection for all students and educators.

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NSEA has been the voice of educators for over 120 years. We represent teachers, education support professionals, and other licensed professionals throughout the state of Nevada.