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Tennessee education systems will see changes in the third grade retention law and school safety protocols | Local News | #schoolsaftey

The 2023 session of the 113th TN General Assembly wrapped up at the end of April. Hamilton County School Board member and the County’s Department of Education Legislative Representative, Ben Connor, took the time to review the changes.

“The big change is just that we’re adding another testing model and that’s a big step forward,” he said during a town hall held on Monday. “I think that only having the TCAP testing model was kind of a miss. It was something where we were only getting one metric to judge these children on, something that could affect the rest of their lives.”

Connor says they have not received the results from the second TCAP tests, but says less children will be retained than they anticipated.

He’s glad the law has been altered to look at more than one test result.

New legislation will support safer schools.

“There’s so much being given towards school safety and the grants to make sure that we have hardened entrances, to make sure that there’s more thought put into how we’re keeping our children safe inside the buildings,” he says.

Connor says last school year, all schools in the county had a School Safety Officer, or SSO.

Now, there will be funding for at least one School Resource Officer, or SRO, in every school.

The government is allotting up to $75,000. Connor says this will cover the salary.

“We need to work with the Sheriff’s Office to make sure that we’re utilizing those positions in the best possible way for Hamilton County Schools. And when we do that, I think we’re going to make our children one step safer,” he says.

He says the start of the school year is exciting, and he’s glad additional safety measures are being put in place.

“There’s so many question marks around keeping children safe, and knowing that we’ve got the backing of the state government and the local government to keep our kids safe in school, that that helps me sleep at night and it’s really important to me,” Connor says.

HCS will have a board meeting on Tuesday, the 18th, at 6:00 p.m.

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