BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 202
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          Date of Hearing:   April 17, 2013

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Joan Buchanan, Chair
                    AB 202 (Donnelly) - As Amended:  March 5, 2013
           
           [Note: This bill is doubled referred to the Assembly Judiciary  
          Committee and will be heard as it relates to issues under its  
          jurisdiction.]
           
          SUBJECT  :  School security: School Marshal Plan

           SUMMARY  :  Establishes the School Marshal Plan and authorizes  
          school districts, county offices of education, and charter  
          schools to use general purpose funds to provide training for  
          school marshals.  Defines "school marshal" as a school employee  
          who, in accordance with the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995,  
          and pursuant to locally adopted policies, is authorized to  
          possess a firearm at a schoolsite or designated school  
          activities.  Exempts from disclosure the personally identifiable  
          information of a school marshal in an application  for  a license  
          to carry a firearm, or  in  a license to carry a firearm, issued  
          by the sheriff of a county or the chief of other head of a  
          municipal police department.    

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Authorizes the governing board of any school district to  
            establish a security department under the supervision of a  
            chief of security or a police department under the supervision  
            of a chief of police, as designated by, and under the  
            direction of, the superintendent of the school district.   
            (Education Code (EC) Section 38000)

          2)Authorizes the governing board of a school district to  
            establish a school police reserve officer corps to supplement  
            a police department.  (EC 38000)

          3)Specifies that individuals employed by a police department,  
            when appointed and duly sworn, are peace officers and may  
            carry firearms if authorized by the governing board.  (EC  
            38001)

          4)Defines "school security officer" as any person primarily  
            employed or assigned to provide security services as a  








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            watchperson, security guard, or patrolperson on or about  
            premises owned or operated by a school district to protect  
            persons or property or to prevent the theft or unlawful taking  
            of district property of any kind or to report any unlawful  
            activity to the district and local law enforcement agencies.   
            (EC 38001.5)

          5)Establishes the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1995.  Specifies  
            that any person who possesses a firearm in a place that the  
            person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone  
            shall be punished by imprisonment as specified, unless it is  
            with the written permission of the superintendent, his or her  
            designee, or equivalent school authority.  (Penal Code Section  
            626.9)

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  This bill authorizes local educational agencies and  
          charter schools to use general funds to provide training for  
          school marshals.  A school marshal is defined as someone who is  
          authorized by the superintendent, his or her designee, or an  
          equivalent school authority, and in accordance with locally  
          adopted policies, to possess a firearm at a schoolsite or at  
          school activities.  

           Purpose of the bill  .  The author states, "In light of recent  
          tragedies involving violent intruders in our classrooms, we have  
          a moral imperative to protect the children in our schools.  We  
          must do so without abandoning our oath to protect the  
          Constitutional rights of all Californians.  This bill will  
          empower local school districts to protect the lives entrusted to  
          their care during the school day, and will protect the School  
          Marshals from identification so they do not become targets.   
          This program would create an invisible line of defense between  
          our children and a predator intent on committing violent acts  
          against our students or teachers.  Further, this bill will serve  
          as a deterrent to future possible intruders, as they will no  
          longer have assurance of a defenseless prey if they enter our  
          classrooms."  

          This bill is consistent with the recommendations of the National  
          Rifle Association (NRA).   In December 2012, following the  
          shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut,  
          the NRA called for placing armed guards at every school campus.   
          Recently, an April 2, 2013 report by the NRA's National School  








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          Shield Task Force issued a report that includes a recommendation  
          to arm school employees after 40 to 60 hours of training.  The  
          report also recommends changing state laws to allow school staff  
          to carry a firearm and for states to approve professional  
          training programs for armed school personnel using private  
          sector approved and certified trainers as well as traditional  
          state law enforcement trainers.  

           Is this bill necessary  ?  Local governing boards already have  
          discretion on the use of general funds.  It is not necessary to  
          give authority to school districts for this purpose.  A question  
          can be raised as to whether using funds for training school  
          staff in use of firearms is a good use of funds.  There are  
          other safety measures, such as communication systems, fencing,  
          inside door locks, panic buttons and other security strategies  
          that may be more important.  

           Districts also already have discretion to allow such training  .   
          Districts can authorize such trainings, with or without the use  
          of district funds, at their discretion.  For example, Galt Joint  
          Union Elementary School District recently partnered with the  
          Galt Police Department to provide a gun awareness and safety  
          training to school personnel, but the district does not allow  
          school staff to carry a firearm at school.  

           Districts have authority to assign armed individuals on  
          schoolsites  .  Governing boards are authorized to establish a  
          police department headed by a chief of police.  Individuals  
          employed and compensated as members of a police department of a  
          school district, when appointed and duly sworn, are considered  
          peace officers.  These officers must go through the Commission  
          on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) trainings and  
          must be recertified on a regular basis.  Districts without  
          police departments may participate in a School Resource Officer  
          (SRO) program through a local city or county law enforcement  
          agency.   The SRO program assigns one or more police officers to  
          work with school districts to create and maintain a safe  
          environment and provide support and training to school and  
          district officials on crime prevention, gang intervention and  
          school safety.  Some SROs may assign one officer to each middle  
          and/or high school or one officer to work with several middle  
          and/or high schools, while others may assign one officer to work  
          with the whole district.  Some SROs are on campuses daily.  

          The Gun-Free School Zone Act was established to keep guns away  








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          from schools.  The law imposes a penalty of up to five years of  
          imprisonment to anyone possessing or discharging a firearm in a  
          school zone, defined as within 1,000 feet of a public or private  
          school.  However, the law also allows a district superintendent  
          to give an exception to the law.  

           Is arming school staff a good solution for school safety?   The  
          California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees supports  
          the bill and cites the following from an April 6, 2013 New York  
          Times article, "Research on mass shootings over the last decade  
          has bolstered the idea that people at the scene of an attack  
          have a better chance of survival if they take an active stance  
          rather than waiting to be rescued by the police, who in many  
          cases cannot get there fast enough to prevent the loss of  
          life?..In 16 of the attacks studied by the researchers,  
          civilians were able to stop the perpetrator, subduing him in 13  
          cases and shooting him in 3 cases. In other attacks, civilians  
          have obstructed or delayed the gunman until the police arrived."  
            

          Parents, educators, law enforcement agencies and others,  
          however, have expressed objections to proposals to increase  
          police presence or to arm school staff.  In an article in  
          eClassroom News, a college educator from Massachusetts and a  
          mother of two young children was quoted as saying, "Schools  
          shouldn't be about guns.  It should be a safe place to learn,  
          free from weapons and the like.  I understand wanting to protect  
          our children, but I don't know if that's the right solution.   
          It's a scary solution."  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie  
          said, "You can't make this [school] an armed camp for kids."  

          Law enforcement fears the unintended consequences of having  
          armed staff on schoolsites.  The San Diego Schools Police  
          Officers Association states, "As law enforcement officers,  
          having civilians armed with no knowledge of the level of  
          training they receive not only makes it a huge liability to that  
          school district but it also makes it dangerous to that teacher  
          when a crisis occurs.  Responding officers may mistakenly assume  
          that school employee is the suspected attacker and must address  
          that employee as such until confirmed as an employee authorized  
          to be armed on site.  Precious time would take away officers who  
          should be searching for the actual suspect.  During the time the  
          officers are concentrated on the employee the officers must  
          place themselves in danger from also becoming victims to the  
          same attacker by exposing themselves as they take the employee  








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          into custody."  

          The California Police Chiefs Association also fears that  
          untrained persons are perpetually at risk for misplacing their  
          firearms and having them fall into the wrong hands.

          In December 2012, the National Association of Secondary School  
          Principals and the National Association of Elementary School  
          Principals issued a joint statement denouncing proposals to  
          allow teachers and principals to carry firearms in school.  The  
          organizations believe that such policies will not make schools  
          more secure and may do more harm than good.  "It is not  
          reasonable to expect that a school official could intervene in a  
          deadly force incident, even with a modicum of training, quickly  
          and safely enough to save lives," said the statement.  Instead,  
          the organizations advocate for building trusting relationships  
          with students and people in the community to improve  
          communication so that threats can be identified, and efforts to  
          address mental health needs of students and all community  
          members.  

          The California Teachers Association (CTA) opposes the bill and  
          states, "CTA members strongly believe there must be a  
          comprehensive approach to school safety based on input from  
          communities and educators that includes access to school  
          counselors, mental health services, investing in infrastructure  
          and critical programs and common sense gun safety measures like  
          universal background checks for gun purchases.  We do not  
          believe training "any or all" school employee(s) to carry a  
          firearm while on a school site or during school activities is  
          suitable given other provisions in current law that provide  
          appropriate and necessary training and avenues for schools to  
          employ school personnel authorized to carry firearms."  

          In a January 2013 statewide voter survey on school safety  
          conducted by the California Endowment, the policy voters  
          objected to the most, with 67 percent opposed, was allowing  
          teachers trained in firearms to carry guns.  Voters support more  
          prevention-oriented strategies, such as improving mental health  
          services and having trained guidance counselors in every school,  
          over response-oriented strategies, such as armed guards or  
          teachers or police on campus.

           Related legislation  .  A number of school safety-type bills have  
          been introduced this year.  AB 549 (Jones-Sawyer), pending in  








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          this Committee, requires the comprehensive school safety plan to  
          establish guidelines for the roles and responsibilities of  
          police officers on campus.  

          AB 514 (Bonta), pending in this Committee, requires the  
          Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to include on his  
          Internet Web site a list of statewide resources for youth that  
          have been affected by gangs, gun violence, and psychological  
          trauma.  

          AB 699 (Donnelly), also scheduled for the April 17th hearing,  
          gives a parent or guardian of a public elementary or secondary  
          school pupil the option to remove his or her child from an  
          unsafe school and enroll his or her child in another school  
          within the same school district or a school in another district  
          if no safe school exists in the district.    

          AB 1264 (Conway), pending in this Committee, requires school  
          districts and county offices of education to adopt a tactical  
          response plan in the school safety plan, publicly announce its  
          adoption or update of a tactical response plan, develop a  
          protocol for teachers to provide notification of pupils  
          identified as having a potential mental health issue, and  
          requires the annual audit of school district funds to include a  
          summary of the extent to which a local educational agency has  
          complied with the requirement to develop a comprehensive school  
          safety plan.  

          SB 49 (Lieu), pending in the Senate Education Committee, adds  
          procedures related to individuals with guns on school campuses  
          and at school-related functions as a requirement in the school  
          safety plan, requires charter schools to develop a school safety  
          plan, requires the annual audit of school district funds to  
          include a summary of the extent to which a local educational  
          agency (LEA) has complied with the requirement to develop a  
          comprehensive school safety plan, and requires the SPI to  
          withhold the next principal apportionment from a LEA if the SPI  
          receives an audit report that finds that the LEA has not  
          complied with the requirement that each school develop a school  
          safety plan, or the SPI finds that a superintendent of a school  
          district or county office of education has failed to provide  
          written notification to the SPI identifying the schools that had  
          not complied.  

          SB 316 (Block), pending in the Senate Education Committee,  








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          requires all modernization projects submitted to the Division of  
          State Architect, and the governing board of each school district  
          and each county superintendent of schools to, by January 1,  
          2015, equip the doors of every classroom and every room with an  
          occupancy of five or more persons with locks that allow the  
          doors to be locked from the inside.

          SB 561 (Fuller), pending in the Senate Education Committee,  
          prohibits a student who has been expelled for specified actions  
          from enrolling in any other school or school district during the  
          period of expulsion unless he or she has undergone a mental  
          health evaluation conducted by a licensed clinical psychologist,  
          and the school at which he or she enrolls is a county community  
          school or a juvenile court school or a community day school.

          SB 634 (Price), pending in the Senate Education Committee,  
          requires a comprehensive school safety plan to establish minimum  
          requirements and standards for schools to follow when conducting  
          school safety drills and reviewing school emergency and crisis  
          response plans, requires all school districts and county offices  
          of education to incorporate specified safety drills into their  
          school safety plan, and requires each school to conduct two  
          school evacuation drills and one law enforcement school lockdown  
          drill during each school year.  

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees

           Opposition 
           
          Association of California School Administrators
          California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and  
          Programs
          California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun  
          Violence
          California Police Chiefs Association
          California Teachers Association
          Labor/Community Strategy Center
          Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
          Los Angeles Unified School District
          Peace Officers Research Association of California
          Public Counsel Law Center








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          San Diego Schools Police Officers Association
          San Francisco Unified School District
          Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles
          Youth Justice Coalition
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Sophia Kwong Kim / ED. / (916) 319-2087