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Published on May 30th, 2013 | by Zamná Ávila

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California Senate Approves School Safety Preparedness Mandate

SACRAMENTO – The California Senate approved a proposal by 39-0, May 30, which would mandate an established emergency response plan for schools.

Senate Bill 49 now goes to the Assembly.
The bill would require the California Department of Education to ensure that principals and school districts have school safety plans and that they are updated.”
SB 49 would amend the Education Code to include the following:

  • Require the CDE to monitor schools in order to ensure their compliance with updated safety plans.
  • Provide additional flexibility to schools by allowing them to review and update their comprehensive school safety plans once every three years, or more as needed.
  • Require school safety plans to include procedures related to active shooter and active terrorist scenarios.

The state assembly has not yet set a date to begin review of SB 49 but it will likely begin in about a month.

Data from the school accountability report card showed in 2009, the latest data found, that 32.5 percent, or 25 out of 77 public middle schools in Los Angeles have no safety plan at all.  Another 16 had outdated plans and/or failed to review them with staff.  In all, the noncompliance rate reported was 53.2 percent.
Sen. Ted Lieu in 2011 sought to impose an identical requirement under Senate Bill 755, which passed policy committee but not the fiscal committee.
When Lieu introduced SB 755 in 2011, it was in the wake of a recent lockdown of nine Los Angeles schools in response to a reported armed gunman nearby.  The episode exposed vast differences in the way many of the schools dealt with the emergency.  Those present at the command center remarked that some of the schools were woefully unprepared.  The Los Angeles police concluded that individual schools had failed to develop their own plans for managing emergencies.
More recently, schools in Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District were on lockdown because armed robbery suspects were in the area.  (As a result of redistricting, Lieu’s office covers constituents in the Palos Verdes Peninsula).

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