Saturday, November 18, 2023

Walters introduces classroom discipline reform, aimed to empower teachers and parents

Walters Introduces Sweeping Classroom Discipline Reform
New Program Will Empower Teachers and Parents

Oklahoma City, Okla (Nov. 16th) – State Superintendent Ryan Walters announced Comprehensive Discipline Reform for Oklahoma schools today. Walters’ plan implements needed reform that empowers teachers’ and parents’ rights to hold students accountable, creating stronger education standards in Oklahoma’s classrooms.

“I hear from parents and teachers throughout our state that our classrooms are difficult to manage effectively, causing breakdowns in discipline which ultimately drive down student achievement,” said Walters. “We are empowering teachers to effectively manage their classrooms while helping keep parents informed about classroom discipline. “

OSDE has uncovered hundreds of school districts that have not been reporting their discipline policies for review and are taking steps today to ensure full and comprehensive accountability in our schools.

The Discipline Reform Plan incorporates a Teacher’s Bill of Rights, district responsibilities, online tools to track issues and inform parents, enforcement of current statutes, and proposed legislative reforms.

[The following is the memo sent to teachers by State Superintendent Ryan Walters]


TO: Oklahoma School Teachers
FROM: Ryan Walters, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
DATE: November 16, 2023
SUBJECT: Teacher Bill of Rights: Classroom Management and Discipline 

I have heard from parents and teachers across the state that classroom management and  discipline are lacking in our schools, ultimately leading to decreases in student educational  outcomes. Consequently, I present this memo to all teachers to remind them of their rights  and responsibilities when maintaining a safe and stable learning environment for all students  in the classroom and on school premises.  

Teacher’s Rights Regarding Classroom Discipline 

  • The Right to Enforce District Policies 
    • You as a teacher have the same right as a parent or guardian to control and  discipline a child at school functions according to district policies.  
  • The Right to Inform Law Enforcement 
    • You as a teacher or school official have the right to be exempt from  punishment for reporting threatening threats of violence or violent behavior  of a student to law enforcement.  
  • The Right to Refuse to Teach a Violent Student 
    • You as a teacher may refuse to teach a student who has been suspended for  committing a violent act against you. 
  • The Right to Not be Held Liable 
    • You as a teacher or school official are not to be held liable for good faith  compliance with school policy that leads to a student's out-of-school suspension. 
  • The Right to Search Students' Persons, Desk, Locker, and other School  Property and the Right to Detain a Student Until the Proper Search  Authorities can be Found.
    • You as a teacher or school official have the right to search a student under  reasonable suspicion that they possess an illegal and/or dangerous substance  or item. 
    • You as a teacher or school official have the right to detain a student under  reasonable suspicion that they possess an illegal and/or dangerous substance  or item until eligible staff is available to conduct a search of the student’s  person. 
  • See the relevant statutes for more information: Paragraph C. of Section 24-100.4 of  Title 70, Paragraphs B. and C. of Section 24-100.8 of Title 70, Paragraph H. of  Section 24-101.3 of Title 70, Paragraph J. of Section 24-101.3 of Title 70, Paragraphs  A. C. & D. of Section 24-102 of Title 70, 

District Responsibilities 

  • Publication and Access to Discipline Policy 
    • Each school district within the state of Oklahoma is required to provid  annual written notice of its school discipline policy to parents, guardians, staff, volunteers, and students. It must be posted at various locations within each school site. It also must be on the school district's website. Finally, the school district must include it in the school district’s student and employee handbooks.  
  • Discipline Policy Requirements 
    • Each school district must include in its discipline policy provisions that require  and provide procedures for school staff to report information relating to bullying to administration and law enforcement, if necessary. 
    • The policy must also provide an anonymous reporting system accessible to students. It must have provisions that govern the investigation, determination,  and documentation of all incidents of bullying reported to school officials, the  reporting of the number of incidents of bullying, the determination of case-by case severity, a process for the recommendation of community mental health  care or counseling options to victims of bullying, the disclosure of students’  background information regarding mental health, substance abuse, or other  counseling, and identify and name the position of the employee responsible  for such acts. 
    • This discipline policy must be submitted to the state department of education  by December 10 every year [OAC 210:10-1-20 (f) (2)] 
  • See the relevant statutes for more information: Subparagraph A. 4. of Section 24- 100.4 of Title 70, Subparagraph A. 9. of Section 24-100.4 of Title 70, Subparagraphs  A. 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. & 15. of Section 24-100.4 of Title 70.

Rights of the Student 

  • Victim Rights to Separation from Offender 
    • Students who have been victims of certain felony offenses by other students,  as well as the siblings of the student victims, have the right to be kept  separated from the student offender both at school and during school  transportation. 
  • See the relevant statute for more information: Paragraph A. of Section 24-100.6 of  Title 70 

If You Encounter Problems 

  • Do you believe your school district is adequately enforcing these school disciplin  and classroom management provisions required by law? 
  • Do you as a teacher feel that you are able to enforce your school district’s discipline policy in the classroom and on school premises? 
  • Do you as a teacher believe your rights as a teacher when enforcing school and classroom discipline are protected by your school district? 
  • Administrators new and old, does your discipline policy comply with the laws cited above? 
  • If the answer to any one of these questions is no, please use the contact information below to get in touch with the Oklahoma State Department of Education.  

If you believe your district has violated your rights as described in this document or is out of compliance with its own discipline policy, contact the Oklahoma State Department of Education via:


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