Teachers in California would no longer be required to report certain possibly dangerous incidents concerning students to law enforcement, according to a bill passed by the state Senate, despite concerns that it could lead to less security at schools, The Daily Wire reported on Wednesday.
The legislation to scrap the requirement was passed just days after an attacker fatally shot 19 children and two teachers in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Should the bill become law, students would no longer be held liable if they ”willfully disturb any public school or any public school meeting.”
The reasoning for such a change, explained the bill’s author, Democratic state Sen. Steven Bradford, was that ”kids should feel comfortable and not traumatized at school,” according to The Daily Wire.
The legislation would repeal, according to the legislative council’s digest, the requirement that ”whenever any employee of a school district or county superintendent of schools is attacked, assaulted, or physically threatened by any pupil,” the worker and anyone who the employee works under and knows of the incident must ”promptly report the incident to specified law enforcement authorities.” If someone failed to report such an occurrence, they could have been fined.
Although the legislation would still require ”referral to the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system of any student who brings a firearm or weapon to a school,” it would also mean that certain potentially dangerous items would not qualify for law enforcement referral — including ”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.”
The reasoning for this change was that it would reduce the negative impact on students due to interactions with law enforcement, The Daily Wire reported.
Although critics have said that these changes could reduce safety at schools, the ACLU, which sponsors the bill, said that young people are harmed from even a small amount of contact with law enforcement and that certain marginalized groups are disproportionately referred to these authorities.
The California State Sheriffs’ Association opposes the bill, stating that getting rid of the requirement to report to law enforcement such potential dangerous incidents ”impedes law enforcement from being able to best protect our schools.”