The California State Senate on Thursday passed a bill that ends mandatory reporting on students who threaten violence against the school to law enforcement. According to the language of the bill endorsed by the ACLU, “once students make contact with law enforcement, they are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to wind up in jail or prison.”

The law was authored by Senator Steve Bradford and was endorsed by ACLU California Action calling it a win for racial equality.

The co-sponsors are: Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU California Action, Black Organizing Project, Black Parallel School Board, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, Disability Rights California, Dolores Huerta Foundation, East Bay Community Law Center, PolicyLink, and Public Counsel.

SB 1273 also called “Eliminating Law Enforcement Mandate in Schools” would repeal the existing law that “whenever any employee of a school district or county superintendent of schools is attacked, assaulted, or physically threatened by any pupil, the employee and any person under whose direction or supervision the employee is employed who has knowledge of the incident are required to promptly report the incident to specified law enforcement authorities.”

More from far-left ACLU:

Decades of research show the long-term harm to young people of even minimal contact with the juvenile or criminal legal systems. Once students make contact with law enforcement, they are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to wind up in jail or prison. These harms fall disproportionately on students from marginalized groups: Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students, as well as students with disabilities, are disproportionately referred to law enforcement, cited, and arrested.

SB 1273 (Bradford) empowers educators, protects students, and restores educator discretion by:

  • Eliminating state mandates for school notification of law enforcement of many types of incidents, thereby empowering schools to adopt non-punitive, supportive, trauma-informed and health-based approaches to school related behaviors.
  • Increasing educator discretion in determining when to notify law enforcement about a student’s school related behaviors.
  • Eliminating prosecution of school staff who fail to report incidents of alleged assaults or physical threats against school employees.
  • Eliminating the criminal penalty for students for the “willful disturbance” of public schools and public school meetings.

By restoring flexibility to educators to decide when law enforcement should be notified, SB 1273 will protect students from unnecessary contact with the criminal legal system, decrease school related law enforcement referrals and arrests, and keep students in school.

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