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Bill calls for sensitivity training for Utah substitute teachers

Bill calls for sensitivity training for Utah substitute teachers

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SALT LAKE CITY — Substitute school teachers hired from temporary employment agencies would be required to be trained on a school district’s or charter school’s code of conduct or ethics under a bill endorsed Monday by the Senate Education Committee.

SB198, sponsored by Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, takes aim at situations such a substitute teacher hired by Alpine School District through a temporary agency who last fall berated a child who expressed gratitude for her two dads. The teacher was fired.

“Since that unpleasant event in Alpine, I have learned of several others,” Mayne said.

The bill, she said, will not affect most larger school districts that have their own training or on-boarding processes. The bill says teachers will undergo sensitivity training.

SB198 would help ensure those teachers hired through temporary agencies “know the rules of the road,” Mayne said.

The training could be limited to handouts or any sort of briefing that a school district or charter school desires, she said.

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, said he worries that the requirements under SB198 would make it “impossible to find a substitute teacher at short notice.”

Mayne said when she worked for Granite School District, educators who waited for substitute teachers sometimes combined two classrooms “until things pass along.”

Fillmore also questioned what the legislation means by “sensitivity training” since it is not defined in the bill.


Since that unpleasant event in Alpine, I have learned of several others.

–Sen. Karen Mayne


Mayne said the bill leaves that determination to school districts or charter school boards because she did not dictate that from the state level.

However, this baseline requirement should help guide substitute teachers and help protect schools from a liability standpoint.

After a committee vote of 4-1, with Fillmore voting no, the bill moved to the Utah Senate for its consideration.

Marjorie Cortez

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