House scheduled to debate teacher due process, bullying bills tomorrow

The Kansas House has scheduled general orders debate Wednesday on bills to restore the teacher due process law repealed in 2014 and to add requirements to school districts bullying prevention policies. The House convenes at 11 a.m. 

School leaders are encouraged to share their concerns about these bills with their state representatives. 

HB 2757 would restore a system that allowed teachers to request a hearing before an independent hearing officer if terminated or non-renewed after a three-year probationary period. 

KASB did not support the full repeal of the old law in 2014, but also did not support the previous law. KASB believes the school board should make the decision on termination or non-renewal, subject to legal review, rather than an outside hearing officer. KASB also supports the ability of districts to enact additional due process procedures locally, as some have done. 

According to KASB research, the number of teachers terminated or non-renewed has actually declined since the law has changed. It is also more common in other states to have the school board make the decision, rather than on outside process. 

HB 2758 would require school districts to place in their bullying prevention plans consequences and appropriate remedial action for those committing bullying, harassment or cyber bullying; procedures for reporting such acts (including a provision for anonymous reporting); and a list of appropriate responses to such acts. In addition, the bill requires such plans to be published on the school district’s website and distributed annually to parents and guardians of children enrolled in a school in the school district and filed with the State Department of Education. 

KASB is neutral on this bill and believes the new provisions can be accomplished with little additional cost to the district. However, it is possible additional requirements may be proposed as amendments. 

KASB urged school leaders to share and review their current anti-bullying plans with House members. 

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