COLUMBUS– State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Copley) today announced the Senate's passage of legislation to improve the reporting and evaluation of incidents of student violence against educators and educational staff.

"The dedicated professionals who devote their lives to educating our students should be able to do their jobs without the fear of violence," said LaRose. "Ohio's leaders deserve our support and protection." 

Senate Bill 168 would require school districts to report violent student behavior resulting in disciplinary action in the Education Management Information System (EMIS), the statewide data system for primary and secondary education institutions in Ohio. For a two-year period, schools would be required to report violent incidents to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), including information about the individual to whom the violent behavior was directed. 

"The purpose of this legislation is to increase awareness about the problem of student violence against educators and take the first step toward developing an effective response," said LaRose. "I first became aware of the severity of the problem when a group of teachers in my district who had suffered physical assault at the hands of students shared their experiences with me."

F.I.V.E.S. (Facing Incidents of Violence against Educators & Staff) is a coalition of educators and staff whose purpose is to increase awareness about violence against educators and encourage policymakers to develop solutions.

Pamela Hinton, a former assistant principal who was herself a victim of a brutal attack by several students, founded F.I.V.E.S. and testified on behalf of the legislation, saying, "Senate Bill 168 encourages our school communities to work together to increase awareness, create solutions, and make a positive difference in addressing student violence against educators and staff." 

If enacted, Senate Bill 168 would require ODE to prepare a report based on the information collected in EMIS related to student violent incidents for the first two years after the bill goes into effect. ODE will then report to the President and Minority Leader of the Senate, Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and chairpersons of the Senate and House education committees on the pervasiveness of student violence in order to inform future action on addressing the problem of student violence. 

"Throughout the process of developing this legislation, I worked closely with the Department of Education to ensure that these new requirements will not create an additional burden for school districts," added LaRose.

Changes to the EMIS system would sunset two years after the release of ODE's report, allowing the legislature to decide whether or not to make the new reporting procedure a permanent feature of EMIS. 

Senate Bill 168 passed with extensive bipartisan support and will now go to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.

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