by Carol Brydolf, CSBA staff writer
Members of CSBA’s Superintendents Advisory Council—meeting at the association’s West Sacramento offices—had the chance to ask questions and raise specific concerns about new school safety legislation during a wide ranging discussion with the bill’s author, Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance.
Lieu’s bill, SB 49, tightens existing regulations and timelines related to comprehensive school safety plans. Lieu noted that the state does not maintain data on compliance.
“If you asked which schools have safety plans, no one knows,” Lieu said.
His goal is to provide incentives and consequences to ensure that California schools have comprehensive safety plans in place and that districts report accurately as required by current law. Sen. Lieu made it clear he will work with members of the education community as well as law enforcement—on the specifics of how LEAs report to the public about their safety plans and other aspects of the legislation.
CSBA has not yet taken a position on the bill. See Lieu’s video message on school safety here.
CSBA Policy Program Officer Betsy McNeil reminded the council that CSBA has compiled extensive resources to help governing boards ensure that schools are safe. As part of a comprehensive approach to creating safe school environments, schools need to curb bullying and monitor disciplinary policies to find creative alternatives to suspensions and expulsions. Keeping young people in school and off the streets is an important component of school safety, she said.
The cover story in the winter issue of California Schools magazine, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind?,” focuses on the latest research about effective discipline. CSBA offers a number of other school safety resources, many of which are drawn from CSBA’s updated guide, “Safe Schools: Strategies for Governing Boards to Ensure Student Success.”
Copies of the guide are available in print or on a pre-loaded flash drive, courtesy of the Ford Foundation. Contact McNeil at 800-266-3382 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit CSBA’s school safety web page.
School safety and violence prevention continue to be on center stage in the aftermath of a number of high-profile school shootings. The same day that superintendents met with Lieu, the White House convened a panel of experts who joined U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to discuss ways to make schools, churches, universities and colleges safer. President Obama has directed the Departments of Education, Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services to work together to create model emergency management plans for schools and other institutions.