Last week, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill with many different policies, one of those being eliminating teacher due process rights. Effectively, this bill removes the required hearing teachers are permitted if he or she is fired; they could get fired for any reason at any moment without any recourse.
The bill passed through the state legislature with one vote, causing tension between the legislators and teachers.
“I am dismayed at the process the legislature went through to pass this bill,” World Languages Department Coordinator Linda Sieck said. “I believe public education is being threatened in our state by some very wealthy and powerful legislators.”
Individual districts throughout the state may choose to continue having due process rights. Teachers with three or more years of experience in SMSD have due process rights negotiated in their contract, so SMSD will continue to use these rights.
“It’ll affect teachers throughout the state,” Assistant principal Jeff Storey said. “Sometimes I think our legislators will try to make decisions based on the information they have at the time, and I think with the way this bill was introduced and voted upon, it was not a good idea.”
Social studies teacher Steve Klein, however, does not see the what benefits will come from the law.
“I don’t see how removing due process from any system improves the system,” Klein said.
Storey thinks that teachers throughout the state will be playing it safer and taking less risks in order to save themselves from being terminated with no chance of recourse.
“Sometimes i think our legislators will try to make decisions based on the information they have at the time,” Storey said. “and I think with the way this bill was introduced and voted upon, it was not a good idea.”