Walz signs bill on school resource officers

Gov. Tim Walz this week signed a bill designed to clarify the kinds of force police can use in public schools and establish training for officers.

The legislation is intended to address what law enforcement agencies said was a confusing 2023 law that restricted the situations where school resource officers can restrain students face-down.

More than 40 agencies suspended their school resource officer programs last year in response to the 2023 law. Most agencies returned after Attorney General Keith Ellison issued guidance that addressed most of their concerns, but it remained a top issues this legislative session.

The bill signed by Walz was a compromise worked out by lawmakers. It clarifies that police can use prone restraints in situations where physical danger warrants doing so. And, it directs the state’s Peace Officers Standards and Training Board to create a set of standards for school resource officers with the input of schools and community organizations.

“Every child deserves a world-class education and a learning environment that is safe, supportive, and healthy,” Walz said, in a statement. “As integral members of their school community, school resource officers serve students and teachers day in and day out. This bill provides comprehensive guidance and clarity, allowing school resource officers to continue to do their jobs effectively.”

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