Assembly approves Frazier bill prompted by death of autistic boy at El Dorado Hills special needs school

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AB 1172 would require greater oversight of nonpublic schools

SACRAMENTO – The full Assembly today approved a bill by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) to better protect special needs students at nonpublic schools by expanding local and state oversight of these schools.

Frazier, chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, introduced AB 1172 in response to the November 2018 death of a 13-year-old autistic student after he was improperly restrained by staff at a nonpublic school in El Dorado Hills.

“This boy’s death was a tragedy that should never have happened,” Frazier said. “AB 1172 will ensure that these specialized nonpublic schools have the appropriately trained staff to educate and care for our most vulnerable students. It will also give the Department of Education the tools it needs to protect students across the nonpublic school system.”

Nonpublic schools are private, nonsectarian schools that contract with local educational agencies (LEA) to serve special and exceptional needs students. AB 1172 was crafted after the California Department of Education completed an investigation into the student’s death. The bill would:

  • Require Special Education Local Plan Areas and LEAs to conduct at minimum, one annual on-site monitoring visit to nonpublic schools and nonpublic agencies and report the findings to CDE within 60 days.
  • Require nonpublic schools and nonpublic agencies to report incidents involving law enforcement to the LEA and CDE, in writing, within one day of the incident.
  • Authorize the CDE to immediately suspend or revoke the certification of a nonpublic school or nonpublic agency if the CDE finds that the health or safety of a student has been compromised or is in danger of being compromised.
  • Require nonpublic schools have trained and qualified behavioral staff on site when serving students with significant behavioral needs and/or who are on behavior intervention plans.
  • Require Administrators at nonpublic schools to meet specific competency requirements, or be in the process of achieving these requirements.

AB 1172 is sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

“Superintendent Thurmond and I have brought together the stakeholders and we all agree these additional measures will enhance the safety of nonpublic school students.”

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Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which encompasses a large cross section of the Delta in Central Solano, Eastern Contra Costa and Southern Sacramento counties, and includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

CONTACT:   Andrew Bird (916) 319-2011 Andrew.Bird@asm.ca.gov