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Educators Advocating For Safe Schools

California Teachers Association believes that all students and education employees deserve a safe learning and working environment. Local school districts and state agencies must take all necessary steps to make schools safe for students and school employees.

CTA believes that discipline, order, and safety are essential for an environment conducive to learning:

 A truly safe school setting must extend beyond freedom from danger to freedom from fear of danger, which inhibits teaching and learning as well as participation in school and community activities.

Students must be safe from physical, verbal, and psychological violence.

CTA supports legislation that makes schools and the surrounding environment a drug free zone, and an area free of guns and knives and other harmful weapons. And at a minimum, each classroom should be equipped with an electronic device for communication purposes between each classroom and the school office.

Educational facilities must be smoke-free and safe from all environmental and chemical hazards, including lead from water pipe systems within schools, inadequate ventilation, and sick-building syndrome. The Association urges the establishment and vigorous enforcement of stringent standards at least equal to the private sector standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure health and safety.

Students must be safe from the time they leave home until they reach school, during school and on their return. This safety must be protected regardless of the mode of transportation. 

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CTA believes that a safe environment free of physical, health and other threats is vital to an effective learning process.

Abusive Behavior And Criminal Activities In Schools
School employees and students must be safe from physical, verbal, and psychological abuse and criminal activity. The state must fund appropriate nursing, psychological, counseling, health and social services, tolerance, peer mediation, conflict resolution, and character education programs for all students. Students who pose dangers to others must have access to appropriate intervention services within the regular program or alternative education programs. Parents must be accountable for their children’s conduct, and local law enforcement costs must not be funded with education moneys.

Disaster Emergency Preparedness Plan
Schools must comply with the Standardized Emergency Management System, and districts must implement Education Code-required emergency plans and training. Schools must be well-stocked with first aid, sanitation supplies, and food in case of natural disasters. Staff must train in emergency protocols and procedures in case of campus violence.

Environmental Safety
Students and employees should be insulated from environmental pollution and hazards. Schools shall be constructed on environmentally safe property. School personnel, students, and their families shall be notified of potential hazards and correction plans.

Safe School Environment
All educational facilities must be smoke-free and safe from all environmental and chemical hazards, including lead from water pipe systems, friable asbestos, inadequate ventilation, and sick-building syndrome. Local districts must immediately communicate information about hazards to the public.

Responsibility For School Safety
Local school districts and state agencies must make schools safe for teachers and students. Every classroom should have an electronic communication connection to the school office.

Student Safety
CTA believes students must be safe from the time they leave home until they return. They must be safe regardless of their mode of transportation.

CTA Opposes Efforts to Arm Teachers

School safety is a top priority and school districts should be working on their own safety systems while working with local law enforcement. Armed security should be left to the experts. But educators need and want continued training to help them spot potential mental health needs, bullying or high-risk behaviors. 

The idea of arming teachers is a preposterous, cynical and unworkable solution. Teachers are in our schools to educate our students and prepare them for the future. 

California’s educators overwhelmingly support stronger laws to ensure school safety and prevent gun violence. We strongly believe there must be a comprehensive approach based on input from communities and educators that includes access to counselors, mental health services, investing in infrastructure and critical programs in schools and campuses and commonsense gun safety measures like universal background checks for gun purchases and a ban on military style assault weapons. 

Hear from CTA members what they’d rather be armed with.