Oakland School Threats Reminder of Need for Safe School Environments

Most parents view education as a key foundation for their child’s future. Californians send their children to school to learn and, in doing so, trust that their child will be safe while at school. However, recent threats received by personnel at schools in Martinez remind us that even school is not always a safe haven. While these threats did not result in any injury, any incident at a school requires an understanding of the law and the help of an attorney who understands California school safety laws. Our Oakland school injury attorney is well aware of the harm that can result when schools fails to act appropriately to keep students safe.

As The Oakland Tribune reported, the Martinez school district held a forum last week to discuss school safety and the response to threats to schools and students. This meeting was spurred by a series of events. In mid-October, a school employee received an email that included a threat against Alhambra High School. The school responded with an increase in security and notified parents on the day after the email was received. A week later, the school was placed on lockdown and parents were notified when an empty gun case was discovered in the high school auditorium. Further threats against two elementary schools arrived via separate letters later that week. In one case, the school was closed. In the other, the threatened school remained open and parents were not notified until the morning after the letter arrived. Police have arrested Larry Bantola on suspicions related to the series of threats. The Tribune reports that Bantola allegedly signed the name of a former friend to the notes. desks.jpg

Luckily, none of the threats in the Martinez area incidents resulted in any harm to students. However, parents should be aware that schools have a special duty to help protect their students. California education law requires that school districts develop and maintain a school safety plan that is aimed at preventing crime and violence on school property. These plans must be updated yearly. The State Board of Education further mandates that students have a right to safety in the school environment. Schools must have plans in place for conflict situations, including procedures for involving law enforcement when needed. School districts are specifically urged to collaborate with parents and guardians as well as other community groups and law enforcement authorities in order to ensure student safety. These rules are spelled out in both the state code and in California State Board of Education Policy 01-02.

Stories involving direct threats to our area schools such as those reported in the Martinez case are, thankfully, an unusual occurrence. But the promise that your children will be safe while they pursue their education is vital and ongoing. At the Brod Law Firm, we believe that it is important to help ensure the safety of our young people by fully investigating and pursuing claims of Oakland school injuries that arises from the failure of the district to provide a safe environment. We know you place your trust in the school system and we believe that the schools owe every student a quality education in a safe environment. School officials must be responsive to any danger to the young people entrusted to their care. We urge you to contact our skilled Oakland injury attorneys if your child if harmed due to the failure of the school to provide a safe learning environment.

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