Pending California Legislative Proposals to Enhance School Safety - Door Locks, Violence Awareness, and Removing Students from “Unsafe” Schools

by Best Best & Krieger LLP

The California Legislature has introduced a variety of bills under the heading of “safe schools.” It is, of course, difficult to predict which bills will be adopted, especially this early in the legislative cycle. However, it is important to be aware of the range of proposals. Following the Assembly and Senate Education Committees’ hearings on May 1, the status of the bills are as follows:

  • AB 514 (Bonta), The Safe Schools For Safe Learning Act of 2013, passed Education Committee as amended, referred to Appropriations Committee for further consideration. AB 514 would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to include on his Internet Web site a list of statewide resources for youth who have been affected by gangs, gun violence and psychological trauma.
  • AB 549 (Jones-Sawyer), Comprehensive School Safety Plans: Adult Role On Campus Guidelines, passed Education Committee as amended, referred to Appropriations Committee for further consideration. AB 549 would require the comprehensive school safety plan to establish guidelines for the roles and responsibilities of mental health and intervention professionals, police and school resource officers on campus. 
  • AB 699 (Donnelly) School Safety: Safe School Guarantee, reconsideration granted. AB 699 would express legislative findings and declarations of the Legislature with respect to school safety, and would allow a parent or guardian of a public elementary or secondary school pupil to remove his or her child from an “unsafe” school and enroll his or her child in another school within the same school district or a school in another district if no safe school exists in the district. Currently, the bill is drafted in a way that defines an “unsafe” school as one in which a pupil has been suspended or expelled for any of nine specified offenses, or one in which an employee has committed certain acts.
  • SB 49 (Lieu) School Safety Plans, read second time and amended, re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations for further consideration. SB 49 adds procedures related to individuals with guns on school campuses and at school-related functions as a requirement in the school safety plan, requires charter schools to develop a school safety plan.
  • SB 316 (Block) School Safety: Door Locks, passed Education Committee, referred to Appropriations Committee for further consideration. SB 316 requires all modernization projects submitted to the Division of the State Architect under the State School Facility Program to include locks that allow classrooms and rooms with an occupancy of five persons or more to be locked from the inside as a condition for receipt of state bond funds beginning January 1, 2016, and requires that all districts and county offices equip every classroom and rooms with an occupancy of five or more with locks that meet this same requirement by January 1, 2017.
  • SB 552 (Calderon) Pupil Instruction: Social Sciences: Violence Awareness, passed Education Committee. SB 552 provides that instruction in the area of social sciences may also include instruction on violence awareness, which may include a component drawn from personal testimony in the form of oral or video histories of individuals who were involved in violence awareness efforts that exemplify the economic and cultural effects of violence prevention efforts within a city, the state and the country.
  • SB 634 (Price) School Safety Plans: Safety Drills, read second time and amended, re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations for further consideration. SB 634 requires a comprehensive school safety plan to establish minimum requirements and standards for schools to follow when conducting school safety drills and reviewing school emergency and crisis response plans, requires all school districts and county offices of education to incorporate specified safety drills into their school safety plan, and requires each school to conduct two school evacuation drills and one law enforcement school lockdown drill during each school year. 

BB&K actively tracks these and other bills as they proceed through the legislative process and we are ready to advise our education clients on implementing new laws once they are enacted. In addition, BB&K’s own law enforcement specialist, Paul A. Cappitelli, a career law enforcement professional with 35 years of experience, stands ready to consult on your school safety concerns.

For further information on these pending bills and the impact on your district or organization should they be enacted, please contact your BB&K attorney, Education Law attorney Dina Harris, Municipal Law attorney Lee Ann Meyer or law enforcement specialist Paul Cappitelli.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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