Minnesota Democrats Advocate for Repeal of School Restraint Ban Linked to George Floyd’s Death

In an effort to alter the dated legislation, Minnesota Democrats are expediting the process to overturn a recent ban that prevented school-based officers from utilizing the same restraining technique that led to George Floyd’s tragic death in 2020.

Expected to undergo consideration as soon as Monday, the proposed legislation marks a significant departure from the guidelines previously endorsed by Democratic Governor Tim Walz, which explicitly prohibited school resource officers from employing the face-down “prone restraint.”

The prohibition was a critical part of the broader police reform movement that ensued following Floyd’s death, igniting massive civil rights demonstrations and prompting policy alterations to address police violence. Subsequently, in Minnesota, new regulations restricted police officers from using chokeholds and banned prone restraints in state prisons.

Amidst the Democratic shift in campus reform, advocacy groups for education equity have criticized state leaders for succumbing to political pressure from law enforcement bodies, particularly with an upcoming November election where party lawmakers are striving to maintain their slim majority in the state House. The proposal successfully passed the House Ways and Means committee earlier this week.

Although physical restraints have led to adverse outcomes for children, such as injury and even death, Republicans and law enforcement officials in Minnesota view the recent changes as excessive. These changes prompted police departments across the state to withdraw their officers from schools in protest against the restraint prohibition.

During a recent hearing at the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, Democratic Senator Bonnie Westlin, the lead sponsor of the Senate bill aimed at reinstating prone restraints in schools, emphasized the necessity for uniformity among school resource officers in terms of their duties, training prerequisites, and accountability to safeguard their essential roles within schools.

The pending legislation not only overturns the restraint rules for school-based officers and security personnel on campuses but also allocates $150,000 this year to establish consistent statewide training standards for school resource officers and mandates police officers to undergo these training modules before commencing work at schools. Additionally, the bill clarifies that school-based officers should not engage in routine student discipline.

Advocates who commended the initial prone restraint ban are dismayed by the lawmakers’ deviation from Floyd’s legacy, questioning the rationale behind allowing such restraints on children “It’s…

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