Westerville News & Public Opinion

Tiberi: Allow off-duty officers to substitute teach

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Joshua A. Bickel/ThisWeekNEWS
U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Genoa Township) speaks to a crowd at Reynoldsburg High School about his plans to introduce legislation to incentivize off-duty law-enforcement officers to serve as substitute teachers.

U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Genoa Township) today announced his own plan to give schools another tool to keep children safe.

Tiberi made his announcement during an event at Reynoldsburg High School.

The legislation, which he said he is writing and intends to introduce as a bill in the coming weeks, 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, according to a press release from Tiberi’s office.

"As the father of four young daughters, I know the anguish parents feel thinking their children may not be safe at school," Tiberi said in the release. "This measure provides another tool to keep students safe while maintaining flexibility for local school districts to make the best decisions for their communities."

Measures in Tiberi’s plan include the following:

• 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 officials would not have to pay federal income taxes on the compensation they receive from substitute teaching.

• Provide an incentive for off-duty officers to substitute teach.

• Provide the option — not a mandate — for schools to have more tools to better protect their children by providing highly trained armed officials to be in the school at any given time.

Read the Jan. 31 edition of ThisWeek Community News for more on this story, and check out ThisWeek’s series on school safety.