Signing of SB 390 in California toughens requirements for School Security Guards

Senate Bill 390 was made into law this week, mandating that security officers and staff at schools, regardless of being either full-time or part-time, will have to pass SB 390 training.

As the law stands now, only security guards working 20 hours or more need to complete training in laws and liability, security awareness, student behavior, conflict resolution and what their role is in the school. Part-time security staff, at which over 50% of schools in California used in 2018, are not included.

SB 390 was authored by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana). Sen. Umberg created the bill and training requirements and certification in response to growing school violence in California, which in 2015 resulted in 200,000 students in California to be removed from school after a violent incident. The non-responsive action of some school security members during the threat of violence, such as a school resource officer’s actions during the Parkland school shooting in Florida last year, was also a factor in creating the bill.

“Students face complex and unfortunate challenges every day, such as bullying, gun violence, gangs, and drug abuse,” said Senator Umberg. “The support provided by school security officers is an integral part of our public school system. They build a relationship of trust with our students, and teach them about personal safety, tolerance, and the importance of personal achievement. Ultimately, the goal of SB 390 is to fully commit all school safety officers to student safety, by maximizing preparedness and knowledge essential to keeping children safe.”

The signing of SB 390 has been widely lauded by parent groups, school and teacher organizations, and dozens of school districts from around California.

“Some of the kids we teach in school have taken advantage of newer security guards,” said Janet Clemens, a substitute teacher in Long Beach. “They don’t know what to do sometimes, so the kids get away with sneaking stuff in and fighting in bathrooms away from them. They need this training so our kids stop getting away with it and we don’t have to be the ones to find out about everything the guards missed or let happen.

This can only be good.”

The bill had no organized opposition, with SB 390 being passed without a single ‘no’ vote during session voting, and no known groups coming to speak out about it.

SB 390 is to go into effect for all school security staff in California beginning in 2021.