MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A bill pre-filed in the state Legislature would establish trespassing on Alabama school buses as a Class B misdemeanor.
Senate Bill 15 was sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward, who said that the proposed law would make it harder for someone to harm children on a school bus, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Under the legislation, a person has committed trespassing if he or she is found guilty of any of the following: willfully demolishing, destroying, defacing, injuring, burning or damaging a school bus; or entering a school bus while the door is open for students to load or unload, while the bus is at a railroad crossing, or if the person enters after being forbidden to do so by the school bus driver or another authorized school official.
A person would also be considered to be trespassing if he or she is an occupant of the bus and refuses to leave after being asked to by the bus driver or an authorized school official. Willfully stopping, impeding, delaying or detaining a bus would be considered trespassing as well.
The law would not apply to children under 12 years old or to authorized school personnel who are boarding the bus as part of their job.
AP reports that Ward said the bill is not an overall solution to school violence, but it will stop some incidents.
The bill is scheduled for a first read on Feb. 5.
News of the legislation comes in the wake of recent unauthorized bus entry incidents in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.