OFT opposes HB 99 because we do not support arming teachers or staff. Sandy Hook teachers who suffer extreme trauma from a school shooting made recommendations after that tragic event to prevent the next Sandy Hook, never said arm teachers. Fully and fairly funding our public schools would allow rural school districts to hire appropriately trained School Resource Officers. Help us pass HB 1 so that schools can have the money to improve school security responsibly. The lack of any standards for training or transparency in HB 99 will make our schools less safe than they are today.
While we oppose the primus of HB 99, some commonsense provisions would mitigate the risks from this legislation. If HB 99 moves forward, we urge you to include these minimum standards.
As we begin a new year, a new legislative session, and deliberations over a new biennial budget, OFT will be active on many fronts to protect public education, higher education, children’s services, and our members’ rights in their workplaces. We know that we can only win on these issues with an informed and engaged membership, so we will be sending out monthly updates about our priorities and work in the legislature.
School districts across the state are currently in the process of re-opening. While some are starting completely remote, others are either using a hybrid model or are completely in-person with safety modifications in place. In every situation, we are working on balancing the education needs of students with the health and safety needs of students, staff, and our communities. We recognize that in spite of our best efforts, this year is not going to be a normal year and that the changing circumstances are going to have an impact on teaching and learning. That is why we support the provisions in this bill that recognize that we need to focus on meeting the needs of students in a less than ideal learning environment.