New Laws for California Schools: Assembly Bill 3205

This new, weekly feature from CSBA will highlight a new education law signed by the Governor in 2018. All laws are effective Jan. 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted. The full What’s New for 2019 report on all new laws affecting K-12 education is available at

AB 3205, School facilities; door locks

In 2010, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill 211 (Chapter 430, Statutes of 2010), a campus safety measure which required door locks that can be locked from the inside to be included in all new construction projects submitted for state funding. The law became effective on July 1, 2011.

AB 3205 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, Chapter 401, Statutes of 2018) is somewhat an extension of the AB 211 law, applying the requirement for doors which can be locked from the inside to be included as part of otherwise-qualified modernization projects which have been submitted for funding.

Commencing Jan. 1, the new law applies to facilities constructed before Jan. 1, 2012, and is applicable to any rooms with an occupancy of five or more persons. The law does not apply to: A) doors that are locked from the outside at all times, B) doors with locks that lock from inside or C) pupil restrooms.

By extending current law to modernization projects, AB 3205 — like AB 211 — endeavors to bolster campus safety in the event of an emergency situation which requires a lockdown, where teachers in older schools and classrooms not equipped with these new inside locks would have to go outside to lock their doors.

“We don’t want to turn our schools into prisons — they need to be welcoming places for learning,” Assemblymember O’Donnell, the bill’s author, told EdSource in August, when speaking to the myriad challenges of addressing campus safety.

Members of CSBA’s Delegate Assembly, during breakout sessions held in May, expressed similar concerns about how students (in particular, very young students) would perceive and respond to regular safety drills and school lockdowns, and how such measures affect school climate. However, some Delegates also indicated that they have already invested in additional classroom door locks as part of their overall strategies to address campus safety in the wake of recent tragic events such as the campus shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas.