SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Assembly passed AB 2153 — legislation to provide the state’s teachers and school staff with the tools and training they need to support their LGBTQ students — Wednesday evening with strong bipartisan support, following a similarly bipartisan 33-3 vote in the Senate on Monday. The bill is authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) and sponsored by Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, and now heads to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.
“Our public school teachers and staff are on the front lines of ensuring that all California children — regardless of background, zip code, sexual orientation or gender identity — have a shot at the American Dream,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “But in order to do so, they need adequate training and support. We’re deeply grateful to Assemblymember Thurmond for his leadership on this issue, and we look forward to a day when our public school teachers and staff have the tools they need and want to prepare our next generation for success.”
Studies show that LGBTQ students are more likely to face bullying, harassment and discrimination in schools than their non-LGBTQ peers, disparities that can negatively affect academic outcomes and result in higher rates of school dropout, homelessness, depression, suicidal ideation and poverty. AB 2153 will help to address these disparities by providing California public school teachers and staff with resources and training to create safer school environments.
“LGBTQ students are subject to markedly higher rates of bullying than their peers which can lead to negative psychological effects,” said Assemblymember Thurmond. “As leaders, we have a responsibility to protect and support all of our students. This bill will train educators in the availability of support systems available to LGBTQ students so that all students can learn in a safe and supportive environment.”
Passage of AB 2153 is a key policy component of Equality California’s Safe and Supportive Schools program, which also includes a first-of-its-kind Safe and Supportive Schools Index, measuring how well districts support their LGBTQ students, scheduled for release this fall.
AB 2153 is supported by both of the state’s teachers unions, the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), as well as the California Association of School Counselors, ACLU of California, Common Sense Kids Action and San Francisco Unified School District, among others.
Governor Brown will have until September 30th take action on the bill.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org