Massaroni: Improving the classroom environment for students and educators

50th District State Representative.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 — In a survey of teachers in 2022, more than half of teachers who participated reported having a negative self-perception and well-being. In addition, 41 percent of teachers in that same survey reported they are not satisfied with the social and learning climate in their schools.


Our teachers deserve respect, safety, and support from the legislature, and HB 538 provides all three. I believe in and am a strong supporter of public education, but we cannot expect our teachers to be able to produce the leaders of tomorrow when faced with disrespect and dangerous misbehavior in the classroom.

HB 538 addresses classroom disruption that impacts learning by providing a framework for local school districts and school administrators. The guidelines for restoring order in the classroom includes provisions for students to be placed into an alternative setting, such as a resource room, a classroom where the disruption did not occur, or even virtual instruction.

Unfortunately, for too long, students who disrupt instruction and take away the opportunity for other students to learn are placed right back in the same classroom where they caused the disruption. Not only does this not make sense, it stunts the education of the overwhelming majority of students who wish to learn. HB 538 seeks to ensure this no longer happens.

HB 538 also looks to protect the student who causes the disruption. HB 538 creates guidelines to protect the due process for students who are facing suspension or expulsion. However, not all outbursts or misbehavior is solely to blame on the student, thus HB 538 takes into consideration disabilities and special education needs. A student cannot be suspended or expelled as a result of a disability unless injury has been inflicted upon other students or faculty.

NEED FOR MORE TEACHERS. While each day varies, reports show there are anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 certified teaching positions open in our state. We have taken explicit measures to address this issue, such as passing HB 319, which will make it easier for out-of-state teachers to obtain licensure in Kentucky. It eliminates caps on awards to individuals seeking to become a teacher, allow classified school staff to perform instructional activities, and create an interim teaching certificate. HB 319 displays our commitment to those in public education, but we cannot expect people to want to teach in a hostile working environment. HB 538 and HB 319 will work in tandem to rejuvenate public education in Kentucky and display the support the legislature has for Kentucky teachers.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have about things going on in the state as well as our district. As always, I can be reached here at home anytime, or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. Feel free to contact me via email at Candy.Massaroni@lrc.ky.gov.


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