BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 211
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 1, 2009

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Julia Brownley, Chair
                 AB 211 (Mendoza) - As Introduced:  February 2, 2009
           
          SUBJECT  :   School facilities:  classroom function locks

           SUMMARY :  Requires doors to classrooms, offices, and other rooms  
          where pupils and school staff gather to have classroom function  
          locks that allow doors to be locked from the inside.    
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Makes the following declarations and findings:

             a)   Violent incidents on school campuses are increasing at  
               an alarming rate. Lockdowns are an effective tool that can  
               be used on school campuses to facilitate the safety of  
               pupils and staff during violent incidents;

             b)   The locks in most school classrooms, offices, and other  
               rooms where pupils and staff gather can be locked only from  
               the outside, and the safety of school staff and pupils  
               could be placed in jeopardy if school staff is required to  
               go out into a hallway to lock doors during a violent  
               incident; and 

             c)   Locking mechanisms that lock a door from the inside,  
               commonly referred to as classroom function locks, have been  
               developed to quickly lock doors to classrooms, offices, and  
               other rooms from the inside. 

          2)Requires, on and after January 1, 2010, all new construction  
            and modernization projects submitted to the Division of the  
            State Architect (DSA) to include classroom function locks that  
            allow doors to classrooms, offices, and other rooms where  
            pupils and school staff gather to be locked from the inside. 

          3)Requires the classroom function locks to consist of locking  
            mechanisms that allow doors to be locked from the inside, or  
            the best technology that accomplishes the same result. 

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires, under the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of  








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            1998, the State Allocation Board (SAB) to allocate to  
            applicant school districts, prescribed per-unhoused-pupil  
            state funding for construction and modernization of school  
            facilities, including hardship funding, and supplemental  
            funding for site development and acquisition.

          2)Prohibits the SAB from apportioning funds to any school  
            district unless the applicant school district has certified to  
            the SAB that it has obtained the written approval of the  
            California Department of Education (CDE) that the site  
            selection, and the building plans and specifications, comply  
            with the standards adopted by the CDE.

          3)Prohibits the SAB from apportioning funds to any school  
            district that has not received approval from the DSA that the  
            project meets Field Act requirements. 

          4)Requires the DSA, under the police power of the state, to  
            supervise the design and construction of any school building  
            or the reconstruction or alteration of or addition to any  
            school building to ensure that plans and specifications comply  
            with existing law and Title 24 regulations (the California  
            Building Standards Code).

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   According to the author, violent or potentially  
          violent incidents on school campuses and in the immediate  
          neighborhoods surrounding school campuses are increasing at an  
          alarming rate.  The sponsor of the bill, the California  
          Federation of Teachers, considers existing door locks in  
          classrooms to pose a safety threat to teachers and their  
          students.

          Since 1999, when two high school students killed 12 students and  
          a teacher and wounded 23 others before committing suicide at  
          Columbine High School in Colorado, school safety has been a  
          major concern in schools across the country.  In such  
          situations, schools will employ lock downs to keep students in  
          and perpetrators out.  However, if teachers and other school  
          staff do not have the capability to lock the outside from the  
          inside, there could be a delay in time which could increase risk  
          to harmful situations to pupils and staff.

          This bill requires, as a condition for state education bond  








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          funds, all new construction and modernization projects submitted  
          to the DSA on and after January 1, 2010 to include classroom  
          function locks that allow a door to be locked on the inside of a  
          classroom, office, or other rooms where pupils and school staff  
          gather.

           Background  .  All proposed public school construction and  
          modernization projects must receive approval from the DSA, which  
          reviews architectural plans for compliance with the Field Act  
          (seismic safety); fire, life and safety requirements; and access  
          requirements under the Americans with Disability Act.  DSA  
          grants approvals based on the requirements specified by the  
          California Building Standards Code (Title 24 under the  
          California Code of Regulations).  

          Section 1008.1.8.4 of the California Building Standards Code  
          prohibits manually operated flush bolts or surface bolts on all  
          egress doors except doors in residential dwellings and doors for  
          storage or equipment rooms.  In addition, section 1207.3 of the  
          California Fire Code specifies that "exit doors shall be  
          openable from the inside without the use of a key or any special  
          knowledge or effort.  Exit doors shall not be locked, chained,  
          bolted, barred, latched or otherwise rendered unusable.  All  
          locking devices shall be of an approved type."  These provisions  
          ensure that occupants are easily able to exit a building or  
          classroom in a panic situation, such as a fire or earthquake.  

           Types of locks  .  Title 24 regulations do authorize the use of  
          locks that are connected to the latching mechanism of the door  
          so that the lock is automatically disengaged without the use of  
          a key or requirement of special knowledge or effort.  For  
          example, a thumbturn lock (slide bolt) above a door lever that  
          unlocks when the lever is turned in one motion is an authorized  
          lock.  According to a lock expert, "classroom function lock" is  
          a manufacturer term used for locks that are always egressable  
          from the inside but locks or unlocks with a key from the  
          outside.  This may not be the appropriate term to use for this  
          bill.  "Classroom security locks" have the ability to lock the  
          outside from the inside of a room with a key and is a more  
          accurate term for what this bill is intended to do.  The author  
          and sponsor, however, are concerned that teachers do not always  
          carry their keys and would prefer to leave it up to the district  
          whether the lock should be one that requires a key to lock from  
          the inside or simply a thumbturn or pushbutton lock.  The  
          potential problem with thumbturn or pushbutton locks is that  








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          students can lock themselves in if a teacher steps out of the  
          classroom.  Staff recommends striking the term "classroom  
          function locks" and simply require an inside lock that meets  
          Title 24 regulations.  Staff also recommends exempting rooms  
          that are always locked (e.g., janitor's room, storage room,  
          electrical or computer equipment rooms, elevator freight room)  
          and pupil bathrooms from the requirements of this bill.  Schools  
          where classrooms are always locked from the outside will meet  
          the intent of this bill. 

           Rooms required to have inside locks  .  The bill's requirement  
          that "other rooms where pupils and school staff gather" may be  
          too broad.  DSA would have to make judgments regarding size of  
          room and occupancy capacity that would be better if specified in  
          the bill.  Other rooms may include the library, gymnasium,  
          cafeteria/multipurpose room, computer room, and locker rooms.   
          Staff recommends specifying that the requirement applies to any  
          room with occupancy of more than 5 rather than listing the type  
          of rooms required to have inside locks.  As education plans  
          change and with new technology, the types of rooms in schools  
          may change over time.  Listing the rooms may not capture all  
          rooms where pupils and staff gather.

          There is no data available to indicate the extent existing  
          schools already have inside locks.  School architects note that  
          classroom security locks are already commonly included in school  
          design plans.  One architect estimates that about 70% of the  
          plans include inside locks.  This bill will make it a  
          requirement for all proposed new construction or modernization  
          project submitted to the DSA for approval beginning January 1,  
          2010.

           Should this bill include modernization projects  ?  Should all  
          modernization projects be required to install classroom function  
          locks even if the rehabilitation does not affect doors (e.g.,  
          replacing a roof, installing an air conditioning unit)?  The  
          author is accepting an amendment to apply the requirement only  
          if rehabilitation work is done in the room required to have an  
          inside lock.  

           Arguments in Support  .  The American Federation of State, County  
          and Municipal Employees supports the bill "because its goal is  
          to increase safety on school campuses.  Over the past ten years,  
          incidences of school violence have become more prominent.  As  
          school violence increases, legislation must be passed to battle  








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          against violence in a place that should be one of the safest  
          places for a child."

          The Coalition for Adequate School Housing has a "support if  
          amended" position on the bill and requests amendments to require  
          the State Allocation Board to provide supplemental funding for  
          this purpose, and exempt modernization projects from the  
          requirement of the bill.  The California School Boards  
          Association also has a "support if amended" position and  
          requests excluding modernization projects.

          San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has a "Disapprove"  
          position on the bill and states, "Under current law, school  
          district have general authority over the design of school  
          buildings, subject to the design and architectural safety  
          requirements contained in the law.  SFUSD believes that school  
          districts should continue to have this general authority and  
          that unnecessary mandates such as the one contained in AB 211  
          infringe on the unique needs and desires of individual school  
          communities."

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Federation of Teachers (sponsor)
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
          California Teachers Association

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Sophia Kwong Kim / ED. / (916) 319-2087