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Bill to Invest in Safety of Public Educators Passes House Education Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2024
Contact: Bethany Morris,
bmorris@coloradoea.org,
432-553-8747

Bill to Invest in Safety of Public Educators Passes House Education Committee

Denver, CO — A bill to invest in the safety of public educators, HB24-1320, Creating a Task Force to Study School Safety Issues, passed the House Education Committee. The bill sponsors are Rep. Meghan Lukens, Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, Sen. Janice Marchman and Sen. Kyle Mullica. The bill passed by a vote of 7-4.

“Now more than ever, our educators need support,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert high school counselor and President of the Colorado Education Association (CEA). “This task force, comprised of people with lived experience in the education system, will go a long way towards ensuring that both our students and educators are safe. When there’s a sense of safety in the learning environment, students and educators are empowered to thrive and excel at their fullest potential.”

HB24-1320 creates a task force comprised of individuals with professional and lived experience in Colorado schools to:

  • Study the impact of state policy, staff shortages and resource inequalities on the safety of public school staff.
  • Develop a set of recommendations that avoids contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline.

A recent survey conducted by CEA found that nearly a third (32%) of those surveyed said that they had experienced physical abuse by a student within the past two years. That same survey found that nearly 58% of educators were considering leaving the profession in the near future. To further the educator shortage crisis, the Colorado Department of Education found that in the 2022-23 school year that, 15% of all teaching and 20% of all school support professional roles in the state were left unfilled.

“We must address the pressing issue of educator safety, and it’s essential that our interventions are thoughtfully designed to avoid worsening the existing school-to-prison pipeline,” said Baca-Oehlert. “We must ensure that our efforts do not inadvertently contribute to the systemic issues already in place, perpetuating a cycle of disadvantage and incarceration among our youth. Therefore, any steps taken must be well-informed, targeted, and aimed at dismantling the structures that fuel this harmful trend rather than inadvertently reinforcing them. I laud the bill sponsors for their work on this vital issue.”

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About the Colorado Education AssociationThe Colorado Education Association is a membership-based organization that represents nearly 40,000 Colorado education professionals. The CEA promise to our students and communities is that the members of the Association will lead the way in guaranteeing every student access to the best public education. By working collectively with all education stakeholders, we will provide the best public education for every student and assure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

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