IPS approves policy allowing limited force by teachers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IPS board members Thursday night approved a policy that would allow teachers to intervene in a fight.

The proposal comes in the wake of the video that went viral at Northwest High School.

Specific guidelines have yet to be written.

But the new IPS policy will allow teachers to use limited force to break up fights between students.

Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee feels this policy is necessary and overdue.

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“The danger and the risk of not having a policy that deals with when and how you should use force really puts our students and staff at risk, when you don’t have those specifics outlined,” he said.

One commissioner voted against the policy.

She feels the board should abide by its 30 day waiting period before voting on items like this.

“To make sure that we are hearing our constituents, teachers being one of our constituents, obviously that we need to seek input from,” District 2 Commissioner Gayle Cosby said.

But Ferebee wanted to move quickly on this policy change.

“So we could start those discussions now so if there are any training opportunities or any development that needs to happen it can happen over summer before school starts,” he said.

One IPS parent said she’s in favor of the policy.

She feels it will empower teachers by protecting them legally.

“We trust them all day, every day with our kids and I think that they really do have the best discretion to do this kind of thing,” Christine Wise said.

Wise hopes the specific guidelines include teacher consideration.

“I don’t think you can hold them to say that in “x” situation, they need to do a certain thing they need to use their best judgement,” she said.

The teachers union representative at the meeting expressed concerns about teachers’ safety with this policy.

The union’s position is making sure teachers are never required to intervene physically if students are fighting.

Other Marion County school corporations have similar policies and the legal team from IPS worked with those other agencies in creating this policy.