Over the past two years, the California Assembly has created and passed new bills that ramp up school safety in the state’s K-12 schools. The far-reaching measures aim to tackle safety concerns that range from bullying to inadequate campus safety.
With so many bills passed recently, it can be difficult for school officials to monitor these new California assembly bills. What are these new school safety bills, and what implications do they have for California schools?
1. AB 1747—Extensive School Safety Plans
One of the most far-reaching California Assembly Bills, AB 1747, requires “all public schools, in kindergarten, and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, operated by school districts, including in cooperation with classified employees, to develop a comprehensive school safety plan, and that all school staff be trained on this plan.”
This bill was approved in September of 2018, intended to ensure that all schools have fully considered their safety plans, as well as briefing faculty and staff on how to enact them in emergencies. Further, to ensure its effectiveness, each plan must be submitted to the Department of Education for review.
ScholarChip’s Solution: Visitor Management
One of the most important facets of a comprehensive safety plan is to ensure no unauthorized personnel can come onto campus. In addition to a single-entry campus redesign, ScholarChip’s Visitor Management software makes sure that all visitors check-in when they arrive. First, their IDs are run through sex offender registries. Then, the system prints visitors’ badges, letting you know that they’re allowed to be on campus.
2. SB 541 – Lockdown Drills and Multi-option Response Drills
Not only do schools need to create comprehensive safety plans, but they also need to test them out. This bill requires, “the State Department of Education to collect, and local educational agencies to provide, data pertaining to lockdown or multi-option response drills conducted at school sites within school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, as provided.”
Approved by Governor Newsom in October 2019, this bill will require districts to not only perform response drills but also to report the successful outcomes of these drills to the Department of Education.
ScholarChip’s Solution: The One Card
As part of this bill, districts need to collect information about student whereabouts at all times. The One Card simplifies keeping track of hundreds or thousands of students throughout the day. All students receive personalized electronic ID cards that keep track of their daily schedules. When they get on campus, change classrooms, or participate in after-school activities, the card keeps track of where they are.
So, when you need to provide data about your response drills, or in the case of an emergency, the One Card ensures that everyone is accounted for.
3. AB 3205 – Classroom Door Locks
As one of several California Assembly Bills focused on school modernization, AB 3205 requires that schools install “locks that allow doors to classrooms and any room with an occupancy of 5 or more persons to be locked from the inside of the room.”
The governor approved this bill in September 2018. It explicitly addresses door locks, which can be a major hindrance to school safety. Outdated door locks—requiring someone with a key to lock them—are time-consuming and dangerous in lockdown emergencies.
ScholarChip’s Solution: Secure Door Access
With Secure Door Access, faculty, staff, and students need the One Card to access doors. These modern locks also fit AB 3205 expectations. Specifically, a campus can go into lockdown with just the push of a button, rather than needing to lock each door manually.
4. AB 2291 – Bullying Prevention
This bill states that it would “require local educational agencies, as defined, to adopt…procedures for preventing acts of bullying, including cyberbullying. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”
Unlike the other bills that focus on safety plans and building modernization, this anti-bullying bill considers another aspect that can make a school dangerous: bullying.
Bullying makes students feel less-than-welcome, and students who continue to demonstrate negative habits can have escalating bullying behavior as they get older.
ScholarChip’s Solution: Behavior Management & Intervention
ScholarChip’s Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE) helps students who have behavioral issues display more appropriate school behavior. For instance, if a student were demonstrating less-than-compassionate habits towards their classmates, ABE has activities that help them replace these negative behaviors with more positive ones. School districts and educators are always pressed for time, so ABE helps them to modify student behavior without dedicating all of their class time.
These California assembly bills encourage schools to take meaningful steps towards improving safety on their campuses. While these changes may seem far-reaching, they do encourage changes that will make faculty, staff, and students feel more comfortable on campus.
ScholarChip offers a solution called Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE). This innovative program enables school leaders to identify, monitor, and improve student behavior throughout a student’s career, while giving administrators and teachers powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and support decision-making tasks. The ScholarChip system incorporates the complete spectrum of behavior and sends office referral data to PowerSchool®.
To learn how ScholarChip can help keep your schools safer, learn more about the many solutions ScholarChip provides, or to get free recommendations, feel free to contact one of our specialists today!