Governor Considers AB 1271 to Provide Services to Students Witnessing or Experiencing Violence

Friday, August 29, 2014

AB 1271 bolsters mental health protocols in school safety plans

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) announced this week that AB 1271, which encourages school safety plans to include protocols to address the mental health care of students who have witnessed a violent act in school, passed the Legislature and will now be considered by Governor Brown.  The legislation was introduced in response to young students’ comments made at hearings of the Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay, which Bonta Chairs, in which they expressed concern over the lack of mental health services for students after violent incidents.  Bonta also introduced the legislation as a stand against the 15 recorded school shootings that have occurred since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newton, CT in 2012.

“All forms of violence, such as gun violence and bullying, have become a tragic fact of life for children in districts such as my own 18th Assembly District.  Growing up in violent environments can cause serious traumatic complications for children, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.  This, among other challenges, can make it difficult for children and adolescents to become engaged and productive students,” said Assemblymember Bonta.

A study published by the National Center of Education Statistics found that 46% of public schools in the United States reported at least one student threat of physical attack without a weapon each year and 8% of schools reported such a threat with a weapon.  The rate of violent incidents was approximately 40 per 1,000 students in public middle schools, and 21 per 1,000 students in primary and high schools.

Bonta concluded, “I applaud the Legislature for understanding the importance of encouraging our public schools to bolster their safety plans.  Our children deserve a fair chance at success in life; this starts with a strong education, a healthy mind, and a safe, productive learning environment.  AB 1271 will help our students back onto the pathway of recovery, in the event they do fall victim to a traumatic incident.”

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro.  He is Chair of the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee and the Select Committee on Gun Violence in the East Bay. Bonta is also a member of the Assembly Health, Transportation, Banking & Finance, and Elections & Redistricting Committees.