New K-12 school construction projects will now be required to have door locks that can be locked from inside the classroom to protect students from violent campus incidents, according to a bill that took effect on July 1.
Assemblymember Tony Mendoza’s AB 211, the classroom safety locks bill was signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger on September 29, 2010.
“As a former teacher, the safety and security of our schools is a huge priority,” Assemblymember Mendoza said. “School should be a safe place for our children and educators. This law moves us one step closer to ensuring that end.”
Currently the locks in many school classrooms, offices, and other rooms where students and school staff gather can only be locked from the outside.
Mendoza who spent more than a decade as an educator said an experience while he was teaching in East Los Angeles prompted the action behind this bill.
“When I was teaching, we had a violent incident occur near campus during parent conferences,” said Assemblymember Mendoza. ”I taught in a portable classroom away from the main building of the school, and there was a shooting nearby. To lock and unlock the door of my classroom from the inside required an "L" wrench. Finding the tool and then fiddling with the lock in an emergency situation took too much time. This bill is critical to ensure teachers and staff can lock doors in a hurry for their protection and the protection of students.
"Today Californians can rest assured that we are in the process of making sure this safety concern will no longer be an issue,” he said.
Mendoza taught elementary school in East Los Angeles for more than 10 years, while also serving as a member of the board of directors of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). He was also a representative with the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA).
Mendoza represents the 56th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Artesia, Cerritos, Buena Park, Hawaiian Gardens, Los Nietos, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, South Whittier/unincorporated Whittier, portions of East Whittier and Lakewood.
The district also includes the , Buena Park School District, Centralia School District, East Whittier School District, Little Lake School District, Norwalk/La Mirada Unified School District, South Whittier School District, Whittier City School District and Whittier Union High School District.