California Senate Aims to Make Schools More Dangerous
Two days after the mass murder of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, the California Senate passed SB-1273 School safety: mandatory notifications. The measure, authored by state Sen. Steven Bradford, ends a requirement for schools to report violent threats from students to law enforcement. The measure also excludes from the notification requirement “a violation involving certain instruments, such as an instrument that expels metallic projectiles, a spot marker gun, a razor blade, or a box cutter.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, a supporter of the bill, claims “Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students, as well as students with disabilities, are disproportionately referred to law enforcement, cited, and arrested.” Eliminating mandatory reporting, according to the ACLU, “will protect students from unnecessary contact with the criminal legal system, decrease school related law enforcement referrals and arrests, and keep students in school.”
State Sen. Melissa Melendez contended that removing the reporting requirements “impedes law enforcement from being able to best protect our schools.” Melendez, who has children in school, recalled that in 2018, student Nicholas Cruz murdered 17 people at the Stoneman Douglas school in Florida. Supporters of SB-1273, Melendez said, “are asking for a repeat of Stoneman Douglas across the state of California.”
The California State Sheriff’s Association argues that “School officials and law enforcement should work collaboratively, especially when it comes to students whose behavior violates the law and jeopardizes school safety.” Removing reporting requirements “impedes law enforcement from being able to best protect our schools” and “will only reduce the level of student safety.”
With the removal of mandatory reports, writes Diego Hays of San Diego News Desk, “the schools leave themselves open to more school shootings or threats against the school itself. The removal makes schools way more unsafe to students and teachers and staff.” In the California Globe, Wenjuan Wu cites another potential problem with SB-1273.
“The rationale that not holding disruptive or violent students accountable will somehow create a safer school environment is mind-boggling,” Wu contends. “Withholding information that would otherwise help law enforcement identify potential threats of violence is also an obstruction of justice.”
Bradford’s measure now moves to a vote in the state Assembly.