La. lawmakers to debate whether teachers killed on the job should receive same benefits as first responders

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana lawmakers could soon debate whether a teacher killed in a school shooting should get the same benefits as an officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty.

The bill by Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, puts teachers on par with first responders, giving their families access to survivor benefits. For example, the state would pay out $250,000 to the spouse or children of the school worker killed.

Riser says the death could be the result of anything from a school shooting to stepping in to break up a schoolyard fight.

"Who would ever thought we'd be listing our teachers as first responders, but as it currently stands right now, if anything goes wrong, they are the first responders to the situations we have," Riser said.

Everyone from elementary school staff to a college professor is included under the bill. The legislation is backed by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. The bill was scheduled for a committee hearing Monday, but did not come up for consideration.

The deadly Valentine's Day shooting at a Florida high school inspired several pieces of legislation at the state capitol during the 2018 session. Several bills allow teachers to be armed in the classroom, while others put new restrictions on gun sales.

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