U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) today announced his plan to give schools another tool when deciding how to best protect students from harm. His bill would encourage off-duty law enforcement officers to substitute teach by allowing their substitute teaching wages to be tax-exempt. This would provide the opportunity, within state substitute teaching requirements, for highly-trained, armed officials to be in schools at any given time.
"As the father of four young daughters, I know the anguish parents feel thinking their children may not be safe at school," said Congressman Tiberi. "This measure provides another tool to keep students safe while maintaining flexibility for local school districts to make the best decisions for their communities. The bill would encourage highly-trained, off-duty law enforcement officers to serve as substitute teachers, within state requirements, offering a cost-effective deterrent as another layer of security. It's a similar concept that our Federal Air Marshals use -- no one knows which flights they will be on, no one knows if the person sitting next to them is an Air Marshal, but the possibility of their presence may deter violent criminals, and offers a line of defense for those in flight."
The idea, brought to Congressman Tiberi by a Central Ohio law enforcement officer, would amend the Internal Revenue Code to exclude from gross income the compensation received for substitute teaching by an off-duty law enforcement official. As such, off-duty law enforcement officials would not have to pay federal income taxes on the compensation they receive from substitute teaching.
Many states, including Ohio, have reported a shortage of substitute teachers. Incentivizing off-duty law enforcement officers to work as substitute teachers not only offers another level of safety in schools, but provides another pool of individuals to substitute teach.
Congressman Pat Tiberi is currently writing legislation and plans to introduce this measure in the coming weeks.