State Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, said he shares growing concerns over how changes in state law made earlier this year could compromise safety in Minnesota schools. 

An omnibus education bill (HF 2497) enacted into law after the 2023 session significantly limited de-escalation tactics School Resource Officers (SROs) can use and has resulted in dozens of school districts around the state to remove SROs from their middle and high schools.

Backer said this change will have serious ramifications on school safety for students, teachers, and staff.

“Safety and security in our schools is a top priority for parents, teachers, students, law enforcement, and local leaders,” said Backer. “This is an issue that could be easily addressed if Gov. Walz and Democrats would join us in calling for a special session to fix this statutory language. Inexplicably, they refuse to do so and continue to listen to radical, anti-police activists instead of the concerned voices of parents. Without swift action to clear up any ambiguity, the safety of our students and staff is threatened as they begin the new academic year.”

The League of Minnesota Cities and the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association are among groups to recently raise concerns publicly regarding this issue. Student Resource Officers have been removed from numerous Minnesota schools in recent weeks.

Backer said that House Republicans authored legislation during the 2023 legislative session stipulating a student who is violent could be removed from a classroom and then returned after a consultation by the school administrator with the teacher, parents, and appropriate school support personnel regarding ways to improve the student’s behavior. The Democrat majority initially included the measure in an omnibus education package last spring but removed it from the bill late in the 2023 session.

Jeff Backer,

Browns Valley