Bush plan would shield educators from discipline- based lawsuits

Allowing teachers to reasonably enforce discipline and providing more character education for students would improve safety at America’s schools, Texas Gov. George W. Bush said in a campaign speech given in Gorham, N.H., Nov. 2.

In his education safety plan, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination said states and districts should have to provide children the option of transferring out of schools that remain unsafe. Under his program, he said, “No parent in America—no matter their income—would be forced to send their children to a school where violence reigns.”

Bush also proposed a law that would protect school officials from federal lawsuits when trying to enforce discipline reasonably.

“The real problem comes not when children challenge the rules, but when adults don’t defend the rules,” he said. “Many schools, intimidated by the threat of lawsuits, have watered down their standards of behavior. In many cases, adults are in authority, but not in control.”

Among his other proposals:

• Barring any juvenile guilty of a serious gun offense from ever owning a gun;

• Tripling the funding for character education in schools;

• Increasing abstinence education in schools to the level of attention given to contraception; and

• Allowing voluntary expressions of religious faith in schools, including reading Bibles, saying grace before meals, and wearing religious symbols like the cross and the Star of David.