Teachers’ Bill of Rights
The 2023 Florida Statutes
TEACHERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS
1015.01 Short title.
1015.02 Legislative findings.
1015.03 Rights of employment.
1015.04 Right to continuing education.
1015.05 Right to control the classroom.
1015.06 Right to direct classroom instruction.
1015.01 Short title.—This section and ss. 1015.02-1015.06 may be cited as the “Teachers’ Bill of Rights.”
History.—s. 11, ch. 2023-38.
1015.02 Legislative findings.—The Legislature finds that education is critically important in the development of children in this state. The Legislature additionally recognizes the supreme importance of having high-quality teachers in the classroom. Further, the Legislature finds it is necessary to establish a clear set of rights for teachers regarding their profession and classrooms.
History.—s. 12, ch. 2023-38.
1015.03 Rights of employment.—
(1) Pursuant to s. 447.301 and s. 6., Art. I of the State Constitution, the right of public employees, including teachers, to work may not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in any labor union.
(2)(a) A teacher, except in cases of excessive force or cruel and unusual punishment, may not be held civilly or criminally liable for actions carried out in conformity with State Board of Education rules. Pursuant to s. 1012.75, a teacher shall have access to liability coverage, subject to the General Appropriations Act, through the educator liability insurance program.
(b) Pursuant to s. 1012.26, a teacher may receive a reimbursement of reasonable expenses for legal services from his or her school district if the teacher is charged with civil or criminal actions arising out of and in the course of the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities.
(3) All students and public K-20 educational institution employees, including teachers, have the right to be free from discrimination in public K-20 educational institutions.
(4) Pursuant to s. 1012.56, teachers must be provided multiple pathways to earn an educator certificate.
History.—s. 13, ch. 2023-38.
1015.04 Right to continuing education.—
(1) Teachers are guaranteed a coordinated system of professional development with the goals of increasing student achievement, enhancing classroom instruction, and preparing students for continuing their education or joining the workforce. Pursuant to s. 1012.98, the Department of Education, public postsecondary educational institutions, public school districts, public schools, state education foundations, consortia, and professional organizations must work collaboratively to provide a coordinated system of professional development.
(2) Pursuant to s. 1009.26(10), teachers employed by a school district may receive a waiver for tuition and fees for up to 6 credit hours per term at a state university or Florida College System institution.
History.—s. 14, ch. 2023-38.
1015.05 Right to control the classroom.—
(1) In accordance with state board rules and general law, a teacher has the authority to control and discipline students in his or her classroom and in other places in which the teacher is assigned to be in charge of students. Pursuant to s. 1003.32 and in order to provide an orderly and safe learning environment for students, a teacher may:
(a) Establish classroom rules of conduct.
(b) Establish and implement consequences, which are designed to change behavior, for infractions of classroom rules of conduct.
(c) Have disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students removed from the classroom for behavior management intervention.
(d) Have violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students directed to appropriate school or district school board personnel for information and assistance.
(e) Assist in enforcing school rules on school property, during school-sponsored transportation, and during school-sponsored activities.
(f) Request and receive information relating to the disposition of any referrals to administration for a violation of classroom rules of conduct or school rules.
(g) Request and receive immediate assistance in classroom management if a student becomes uncontrollable or in the case of an emergency.
(h) Request and receive training and other assistance to improve his or her skills in classroom management, violence prevention, conflict resolution, and related areas.
(i) Press charges if there is a reason to believe that a crime has been committed on school property, during school-sponsored transportation, or during school-sponsored activities.
(j) Use reasonable force, according to standards adopted by the State Board of Education, to protect himself or herself or others from injury.
(2) For purposes of this section, in cases in which a teacher faces litigation or professional practices sanctions for an action taken pursuant to subsection (1), there is a rebuttable presumption that a teacher was taking necessary action to restore or maintain the safety or educational atmosphere of his or her classroom.
History.—s. 15, ch. 2023-38.
1015.06 Right to direct classroom instruction.—
(1)(a) In accordance with general law and State Board of Education rules, a teacher has the right to direct his or her classroom instruction. If a teacher is directed by his or her school district or school to violate general law or state board rules, he or she may request the Commissioner of Education to appoint a special magistrate who is a member of The Florida Bar in good standing and who has at least 5 years’ experience in administrative law. The special magistrate shall determine facts relating to the dispute over the school district procedure or practice, consider information provided by the teacher and the school district, and render a recommended decision for resolution to the state board within 30 days after receipt of the request by the teacher.
(b) The state board must approve or reject the special magistrate’s recommended decision at its next scheduled board meeting. The costs of the special magistrate must be borne by the school district.
(c) If the school district is found in violation of general law or state board rules, the state board may withhold the salary of the superintendent until the violation is corrected.
(2) Pursuant to s. 1008.25, a teacher has the right to receive student assessment data in a timely manner in order to assist in instruction.
History.—s. 16, ch. 2023-38.