State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Rep. Kevin Vaughan (R-Collierville) on Monday filed legislation giving school boards more independence regarding whether their schools should be open or closed during a public emergency.
Senate Bill SB103, which would take effect upon being signed into law, also applies to public charter schools in Tennessee.
“Mandated directives should only come from elected leaders who are accountable to the people they serve,” said Senator Kelsey. “Our school boards, administrators, teachers and parents are equipped to make informed decisions on how to keep our schools safe by utilizing guidance from organizations such as local health boards.”
The legislation states that local boards of education may consult with the state and local health departments when determining whether to open or close.
“This bill seeks to clarify that duly elected local school boards are the ultimate decision makers when it comes to the operation of their schools,” said Rep. Vaughan. “Other agencies, such as local health departments may be consulted for their perspectives, but ultimately, the schools, students, and staff are the responsibility of the local education authority.”
Lawmakers are set to open the 112th General Assembly Tuesday at noon.