The California Senate passed a bill removing requirements for teachers to report specific incidents to law enforcement.
Alarmingly, the goal of the law is to “eliminate unnecessary police interaction in schools,” according to the ACLU, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.
Current law states that anyone “who willfully disturbs any public school or any public school meeting is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.” Senate Bill 1273 overrules this law, meaning students will no longer be held accountable for such an offense.
“Kids should feel comfortable and not traumatized at school,” said the bill’s author, Senator Steven Bradford.
The bill also repeals the provisions requiring school staff to report incidents to law enforcement “whenever any employee of a school district or county superintendent of schools is attacked, assaulted, or physically threatened by any pupil.” In other words, school staff with no longer be prosecuted if they fail to report assaults or physical threats against employees.
Further, the bill changes certain provisions regarding students’ ability to bring weapons on campus. The federal Gun-Free Schools Act disallows educational facilities from receiving federal funds unless it “has a policy requiring referral to the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system of any student who brings a firearm or weapon to a school served by the local educational agency.” Under SB 1273, referrals that infringe upon this law are mandated, while others are not.
Moreover, students bringing some potentially dangerous items such as “an instrument that expels a metallic projectile, such as a BB or a pellet, through the force of air pressure, carbon dioxide pressure, or spring action, a spot marker gun, a razor blade, or a box cutter” to school no longer qualify for a law enforcement referral under SB 1273.
The ACLU claims that young people experience “long-term harm” from “even minimal contact” with law enforcement and that these harms disproportionately affect “Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students, as well as students with disabilities.”
The goal is to remove law enforcement from safety concerns within schools and “restore educator discretion.”
Rather than working to protect children from real potential threats, California lawmakers are “protecting” children from those who are working to ensure their safety.
With the mental health and violence epidemic spreading within schools across the country, this is a destructive and illogical idea. More than anything, this bill is likely to lead to reduced safety on school campuses. It simply impedes law enforcement from being able to protect students and identify those who need additional help, including mental health services.
Lawmakers need to be focusing on guarding schools with more security, especially in light of the recent events in Uvalde, Texas. Instead, they are only concerned with advancing their woke agenda that prioritizes perceived equity over real-life problems.