Keenan Briefings

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SB 906 School Safety: Homicide Threats

August 24, 2022

SB 906 was passed by legislature and signed by the Governor on July 21, 2022. The bill has two separate requirements that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) must comply with. The requirements both deal with school safety procedures. SB 906 is set to take effect beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. Lastly, LEAs are immune from civil liability for any damages allegedly caused by, arising out of, or relating to the requirements of SB 906.

Notification of Safe Storage of Firearms

The first requirement LEAs are to comply with is to notify parents or guardians in kindergarten or any grades 1 to 12, information related to the safe storage of firearms. The content to be included in the notification is to be informed by model content to be developed by the Department of Education in consultation with relevant LEAs, civil rights groups, and the Department of Justice. As such, the content by the Department of Education needs to be developed on or before July 1, 2023. Furthermore, the content should be updated yearly as necessary.

Because the Department has not yet developed said content, it is unclear what information LEAs are to include with the notification. The model content should contain at a minimum, content that informs parents or guardians of California’s child access prevention laws and laws relating to the safe storage of firearms, including but not limited to criminal penalties for storage of a firearm where a child gains access to that firearm. LEAs should include the model content notification in the annual notification pursuant to California Education Code section 48980, at the beginning of the first semester or quarter of the regular school term. As such, including the model content along with other notifications per California section 48980 should suffice the notification requirement.

Reporting Threats or Perceived Threats

The second requirement in SB 906 requires school officials to immediately report threats or perceived threats made by pupils to law enforcement. The bill did limit the reporting requirement to LEAs serving pupils in any grades 6 to 12, as part of middle school or high school. Furthermore, school officials have been defined to any certificated or classified employee whose official duties bring the individual in contact with pupils in any of the grades of 6 to 12. As such, threats or perceived threats, are defined as writings or actions of a pupil that creates a reasonable suspicion that a pupil is preparing to commit a homicidal act related to school or school activity. Reasonable suspicions are defined as rational inferences from articulable facts, warranting an objective suspicion. In other words, an official’s report must stem from actual facts that warrant an objective suspicion. The facts can include writings, pictures, journal entries, social media post, or warnings by a parent, another student, or individual. The school official must include copies of documentary evidence associated with the threat or perceived threat. The need to include evidence in the report to law enforcement seems to further prove that facts are needed to report the threats. SB 906 specifically, references threats to commit homicidal acts.

There is an imposed duty to a school official to report even if two or more officials have known of the threat. Where two or more officials know of the threat, there is joint obligation to report. There may be an agreement between them to report, however, where one of the two officials failed to report, the other official is to make the report thereafter. As such, school officials should follow up with the designated reporting school official to see whether the report was made.

SB 906 does indicate what a homicidal act looks like, in where the pupils act or writings involve the depiction of firearms, ammunition shootings, or targets associated with the infliction of physical harm, destruction, or death. This definition is important as it gives guidance to the school official as to what a reportable threat will look like.

The official’s duty is to report and not investigate the threat. It will be law enforcements duty, either the local agency or school site police, in support with the LEA, to investigate and assess the threat or perceived threat. This investigation includes the reviewing of the firearm registry by the Department of Justice. Furthermore, part of law enforcements investigation may include a search of the school site if the search may produce evidence related to the threat or perceived threat. Law enforcement is required to keep a record of any report.

Because the reporting requirement may stem from an oral warning given by a parent, student, or individual, although, not indicated by SB 906, it may be a good idea to have the person write and sign a statement to use as evidence later.

Since SB 906 was just passed, there is still a lot of unanswered questions regarding the model content, reporting requirement and whether there will be further guidance from the Department of Education.

As further guidance is made available, there are plans to offer a course through Keenan SafeSchools to assist LEAs in the education of certificated and classified employees regarding the reporting requirements.


AP Keenan is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Clients are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities, and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the clients’ business activities.