|Morganelli wants teacher Bill of Rights|
He noted that Lehigh County DA Jim Martin is similarly frustrated, and in the wake of student assaults against police officers, has called for stiffer penalties for this criminal behavior. But he believes it;s time that teachers know they have rights, too. Noting that most of them feel handcuffed, Morganelli called for a Teacher Bill of Rights to protect them from lawsuits for insisting on order in an educational environment. He noted that under existing law, teachers "have an absolute right to protect themselves and use force to maintain order." despite an atmosphere of "political correctness run amuck" in which teachers tell him they are afraid to put up their hands to defend themselves. "Teachers need more rights. not students, and they need to be able to discipline student without fear."
Morganelli was especially critical of the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which he claims has been perverted to include disruptive and violent students and school administrators who are unable, without parental or court permission, to place a disruptive special needs student into an alternative program or suspend for more than 10 days or even require counseling. "IDEA needs to be revamped so schools can truly take a zero tolerance approach toward school violence," he said.
Morganelli announced he is calling on federal legislators to amend IDEA to give educators more flexibility in dealing with and expelling students who cause problems in school, regardless how they are classified.
"These kids have no fear," he complained.
"This is my message to teachers and educators: In Northampton County, this District Attorney is not going to allow a bunch of unruly and disruptive students, no matter how they are classified, to create havoc and physical danger to other students in out schools and our educators. If you use reasonable force to maintain order or protect yourself, you are within the law and will not be criminally prosecuted."