TSCA Advocacy Efforts
We are currently monitoring several bills in the TN State Legislature. Our goal is to provide information to our members so that you may reach out to your local Legislators to advocate for your students. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us.
The Tennessee School Counselor Association Endorses SB0371/HB1001
Basic Education Program (BEP) - As introduced, requires the BEP formula to fund full-time school counselor positions at a ratio of one per 250 students or one full-time school counselor position for each LEA, whichever is greater. - Amends TCA Title 49.
Tennessee School Counselors support academic achievement, college and career readiness, and mental health for all students. Impacts from the pandemic have challenged all schools in the state to answer the growing need for supports. TSCA endorses the funding of school counselor positions to reflect a student to counselor ratio of 250:1 for Kindergarten through 12th grade.
House & Senate Education Committees will review on 2/24/21
Teachers, Principals and School Personnel - As introduced, enacts the "Teacher's Discipline Act"; establishes a process for a teacher to request the removal of a student from the teacher's classroom if the student's behavior violates the LEA's or school's student discipline policy or code of conduct and repeatedly or substantially disrupts the class. - Amends TCA Title 49.
This law would require LEAs to adopt a complete policy regarding a teacher's ability to relocate a student from the student's present location to another location for the student's safety or the safety of others. In order to enforce relocation policy, reasonable or justifiable force may be used.
TSCA opposes SB230/HB16 for the following reasons:
- To establish and maintain safe and respectful learning environments, school systems must employ adequate mental health personnel and seek effective discipline programs with the commitment and input of all school personnel, including school counselors (Cowan, Vaillancourt, Rossen & Pollitt, 2013).
- This bill will not "fix" school discipline issues. Exclusionary discipline practices erode relationships between students and staff. TN teachers need more resources and support so that they can provide a safe learning environment for all of their students.
- All TN students benefit when administrators, teachers, school counselors, school social workers, and other support staff collaborate to identify supportive interventions for behavior.
Local Education Agencies - As introduced, requires that a student's gender for purposes of participation in a public middle school or high school interscholastic athletic activity or event be determined by the student's sex at the time of the student's birth, as indicated on the student's original birth certificate. - Amends TCA Title 49.
- The Comprehensive School Counseling Model of Practice and Student Standards (Policy 5.103) states that school counselors in TN adhere to the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors. Therefore, TSCA supports all youth athletes in TN, regardless of gender identity (ASCA Ethical Standards, Section A.1.f).
- We understand that this is a complex issue with legal ramifications due to compliance with Title IX, Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, and a recent Supreme Court ruling.
- It is our hope that TN Legislators will seek a solution to this issue that will respect the rights and dignity of all youth athletes.