As state testing continues, a local legislator is raising concerns about a new law in Mississippi that he says criminalizes educators. It’s Senate Bill 2258. Later this month Governor Phil Bryant is expected to officially sign the measure into law.

“With us having a teacher shortage in Mississippi why would we want to continue to run people away,” says Representative Charles Young, Jr., from Mississippi House District 82.

Young, who is a democrat from Meridian, says Mississippi Senate Bill 2258 will run good educators away from the state.

It’s a measure that could result in a felony conviction for teachers and principals who are found guilty of submitting false certification about following all state testing requirements. Such a conviction could lead to up to three years in prison and a maximum $15,000 fine.

“It says that at the end of the testing period the principal must sign an affidavit acknowledging, and attesting to the fact that there have been no instances of malfeasance in their school,” says Young. “Now, I don’t know about you, but for me to think about having to be responsible for more than myself, be it two people, three people, or 100 people, how can the principal attest that all of his educational staff has not knowingly or unknowingly committed one of these offenses?”

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