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Missouri House endorses school safety measures

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri House has endorsed a bill that would put various measures in place designed to make public schools safer.

If passed, the bill would allow K-12 schools to institute uniforms for students, allow schools to create their own police departments, and protect teachers from lawsuits.

It's sponsored by State Representative Maynard Wallace (R, Thornfield).

"What we don't want is a school employee, particularly a teacher...hesitating to stop an act of violence, or (hesitating) to administer life-saving first aid or medication...we don't want that teacher to have to stop and think, 'Am I going to be sued for this,'" Wallace said.

As for uniforms, school districts would have the option of requiring students to wear them, or to just put stricter dress codes in place.

"Basically we're looking at reinforcing the schools' authority to establish a dress code that makes the schools safer, because sometimes weapons or drugs and such are slipped into schools in students' clothing," Wallace said.

The St. Louis school district is currently the only district in Missouri that can mandate school uniforms.

Another provision would require two witnesses be present whenever a student is spanked.

The bill has strong bipartisan support. It needs one more vote by the Missouri House before it can go to the Senate.

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