School Violence Restraining Orders in California
This guide can help you:
- Understand who can ask for this type of restraining order
- Follow the process of getting a restraining order
- Learn what you must do if you received restraining order papers
- Find free resources for help with the process
School Violence Restraining Orders
In California, a school violence restraining order can be granted against someone who has been violent or made a credible threat of violence against one or more students of a private postsecondary (after high school) school.
This type of restraining order may only be granted if the threat of violence is for an act that would likely take place on the school's campus. The threat could have been made by a person who was not physically on the school campus. Only the top school official or safety officer can ask for a school violence restraining order, and they must get the student’s written consent first.
Victoria is a student at Polytechnic College, a private postsecondary technical school. Victoria and another student, Abby, got into an argument. Since then, Abby has followed Victoria around campus, threatened her with a knife, and sent text messages with pictures of a large knife. Victoria reported the threats to the school police, who asked if the school had her permission to ask for a restraining order that would protect her and all students on campus from Abby. Victoria agreed and the school safety officer applied for a school violence restraining order.
Only a school official at a designated type of school can ask for a School Violence Restraining Order. If someone has abused, threatened, or harassed you, and you need a restraining order to protect you outside your school, there are other types of restraining orders you can request.
What can a restraining order do?
A judge can grant a restraining order to protect students and the school campus from someone who has made a credible threat of violence. Once a restraining order is in place, the police can be called to enforce the order.
A judge can order an abusive person to:
- Not contact the student or students
- Stay away from the students and the school campus
- Not have firearms or ammunition
Who can ask for a school violence restraining order?
Only the chief administrative officer (principal, president, or highest-ranking official) or a school safety officer from a private postsecondary school can ask for a school violence restraining order. Private postsecondary educational institutions include private colleges, as well as private vocational, trade, career, or technical schools.
Who can be protected by a school violence restraining order?
A school official can ask for protection for one or more students, as well as the student’s family or household members.
Who can be restrained by a school violence restraining order?
A school official can ask for a restraining order against a person who has been violent, threatened violence, or stalked a student. Abuse can include threatening violence or repeatedly calling, emailing, or following or stalking a student in such a way that the student reasonably fears for their safety.
A school can't get a restraining order against a corporation, or business.
How does a school official ask for a school violence restraining order?
The school official will need to complete a few court forms. The forms will ask for a detailed description of the abuse the student experienced. In most counties, the judge will decide whether to grant immediate protection just based only on the completed court forms. The judge will make this decision the same day the school official turns in the forms, or by the next business day. The judge will also schedule a court hearing (court date), about 2-3 weeks from the time the court forms are turned in. At the court hearing, the judge will decide whether to grant a long-term restraining order.
What if someone asked for a restraining order against me?
If someone has filed court papers to ask for a restraining order against you, carefully read over the papers you were given:
- If you were served with form SV-110, this means the judge granted a temporary restraining order against you. You must follow all the orders granted by the judge. If you don't, you could be arrested and charged with a crime.
- You will have a court date, which is listed on form SV-109. Make sure to go to your court date if you do not agree to the restraining order. At the court date, a judge will decide whether to grant a restraining order against you that can last up to three years.
This guide can help you figure out your options to "respond" and prepare for your case. Respond means to tell the judge if you agree or don't agree to the request for restraining order. It's possible to go through this process without a lawyer, but having a restraining order against you may have a lot of consequences, so you may want to hire a lawyer. You can also get free help from a court Self-Help Center.