SAN DIEGO, Calif. — With half of California’s LGBTQ youth reporting being teased or bullied at school because of their sexual orientation, California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and Equality California are teaming up to say: enough is enough. At a press conference held today at San Diego High School, Assemblymember Gloria announced the introduction of AB 493: the Safe and Supportive Schools Act of 2019 – legislation to require California schools provide annual teacher and staff training on how to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students both at school and in their local community.
“The bullying and name calling I experienced in school as a young gay kid is still a reality for today’s LGBTQ youth. No child should have to experience that. Students should feel safe, accepted, included, and supported in their school,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “Equipping educators with resources to better support LGBTQ students will create a safer and more inclusive environment for these students to be successful.”
AB 493 will create safer and more supportive learning environments for LGBTQ students by requiring schools to provide teachers (grades 7 through 12) and staff with annual professional development training and information on resources available to LGBTQ students. The training will help ensure educators know how to best support LGBTQ students facing bullying or harassment at school, lack of acceptance at home or discrimination in the broader community.
“I’m proud to co-sponsor AB 493, which will help protect California’s LGBTQ students by providing teachers the resources they need to support them at both school and home,”said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “Every child deserves a caring and supportive school environment, and we must continue to work towards closing disparities in health, mental health and academic outcomes for our LGBTQ students.”
“When LGBTQ students don’t feel safe and supported at school, they can’t learn,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “It’s time for California to give our hardworking teachers the tools and training they need to ensure every student — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — has a shot at success. We’re excited to partner with Superintendent Thurmond and Assemblymember Gloria to get this done.”
According to the 2017 National School Climate Survey, 82 percent of LGBTQ students reported hearing anti-LGBTQ remarks in their school; approximately 7 in 10 reported being called names or threatened because of their sexual orientation; and more than one-third of students who identify as LGBTQ reported missing at least one day of school because of feeling unsafe.
AB 493 is co-sponsored by Superintendent Thurmond and Equality California. The bill is also co-authored by the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, of which Assemblymember Gloria serves as the vice chair.
The full text of AB 493 can be found here.
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