New legislation introduced by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) would eliminate provisions in California’s K-12 education code requiring schools to report misbehavior to local police.
According to Bradford’s office, “Educators are obligated under current California regulations to report to law authorities a wide variety of student activity, including items as trivial as possession of cannabis or alcohol. School workers, such as teachers, are prohibited the freedom to respond to different sorts of conduct depending on the facts of each occurrence. As a consequence, adolescents are less likely to finish high school and are more likely to end up in jail or prison,” the study states.
School-related incidents involving the police have a disproportionate effect on students of color, as well as children with disabilities. School-related arrests and citations tend to target these particular students.
Specifically, SB 1273 would remove from state law the need that school administrators record drug and alcohol-related events, allowing educators to decide how to react to drugs on campus.
Currently enacted legislation additionally imposes a punishment of up to $500 on anybody who “willfully disturbs” a public school or school meeting. An arrest for a basic crime like “knocking on classroom doors while class was in progress” has been made because of this statute, according to the office of Bradford’s.
Children enrolled in a public school would be exempt from this offense under SB 1273.
According to the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, a bill co-sponsor, the current statute is “used to criminalize student conduct more adequately managed via behavioral assistance or school punishment.”. “The totality of the circumstances” may be taken into account by instructors when considering how to react to student conduct under this new law.
If a student strikes, assaults, or physically threatens a school staff, instructors might determine whether to report the incident to authorities under SB 1273. Authors of the measure say the issue is that under state law, every verbal or physical threat is required to be reported to police, regardless of the severity of the action.
There is a clause in the measure that requires schools to notify students who are in possession of or discharge a handgun in a school zone to law authorities. Certain weapons, such as airsoft guns, box cutters, and razor blades, would be exempt from the need to declare their ownership.
The measure also removes the need to notify law enforcement of some situations that result in a student’s expulsion or suspension.
In the 1980s and 1990s, “tough on crime” legislation were established in California, according to the ACLU, which is one of the bill’s supporters.
At a Senate hearing in March, Bradford argued that students should be free to learn without fear of being traumatized.
The Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, a co-sponsor of the measure, said the bill would make “several positive and 21st century changes to existing law.”
Defining weapons that must be reported to law enforcement include firearms, as defined, and certain types of projectiles such as BBs and pellets that are fired by air pressure or carbon dioxide pressure or by spring action, as well as spot marker guns, razor blades, and box cutters, but they are not included in this bill. Provides that notice only applies to a violation complying with the federal Gun-Free Schools Act’s reporting obligations.
Law enforcement officials, who are opposed to the plan, say limiting school-law enforcement partnership risks student safety. CSSA noted 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 requirements that information about these incidents be shared with law enforcement runs counter to that notion and impedes law enforcement from being able to best protect our schools.”
On May 16, the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on this measure.