Proposed bill would make it harder for teachers to get arrested

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A bill that hopes to protect teachers from being arrested cleared a Senate Committee. The idea for the proposed bill stems from the recent arrest of a teacher in Baker.

The bill was brought after long time Baker School Teacher Deborah Anderson was arrested last month and taken to parish prison after a student complained that Anderson had grabbed and scratched him. Those charges were later dropped, but if this bill becomes law - it would make it harder for police to haul a teacher off to jail based solely on a student's claims.

Baton Rouge Senator Troy Brown wrote the bill.

"We're looking to address a concern here to where basically a teacher used reasonable authority to discipline a child and of course from there, the parent got involved and law enforcement officials got involved. Unfortunately, the teacher got arrested while on the campus and went through the humiliation of being arrested," Brown testified to the Senate Committee.

"Sometimes they make accusations unnecessarily," Vernon Wells, Baker representative of the Louisiana Association of Educators, added. "Many days I've felt in that same situation where we have to step up to that plate to do what is right and give guidance to those individuals."

The bill was amended to allow a teacher to be arrested if they committed a felony or other more serious crimes, which is why Senator Brown needed the support of the Sheriff's Association to get the matter out to the floor.

"We are very satisfied with the legislation. We believe that misdemeanor summons should be given if necessary in all but very, very narrow situations," says Mike Barnett with the La. Sheriff's Association.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

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