September 4, 2013 (Sacramento) – A measure that would require all school modernization projects seeking state funding to include classroom doors that lock from the inside was held today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
State Senator Marty Block of San Diego (SD-39) who authored the legislation – SB 316 – said he was dismayed. “I’m deeply disappointed that SB 316 did not make it through the Assembly committee,” said State Senator Marty Block (SD-39). “It is a blow to school safety and common sense. We are beyond the point where inside door locks would be a nice thing to have, they are imperative if we want to protect children and teachers in the classroom.”
Block authored the legislation, which was sponsored by the California Federation of Teachers. His bill was also supported by the California State Parent Teacher Association, the Los Angeles Unified School District and others. It had no opposition and received bipartisan support in the Legislature.
Gary Ravani, president of the CFT's Early Childhood/K-12 Council, said, "Teachers have had enough skimping on school supplies, textbooks, technology, and other educational tools. But you can't skimp on school safety. This is an unfortunate decision, for teachers, other school staff, and the families of their students."
“Our teachers and school staff need every tool we can give them when dangerous intruders or other emergency situations occur in our classrooms,” Block said. “Interior locking doors permit teachers to lock their doors from the inside so they are not exposed to danger.” SB 316 also requires that students and teachers be able to exit their classrooms without use of a key or special effort.
“My bill took into account that some schools could not immediately fund the new locks, and it would have taken an important step toward increasing classroom safety,” Block said.
SB 316 would have occurred upon successful passage of a new state school facilities bond. Block’s legislation would also have required the State Allocation Board to adjust the per-pupil modernization grant to address lock installation. Additionally, if federal funding for school safety were to become available, schools would have been required to first consider using those funds for interior locks.
Block said he would reintroduce the bill next year.