Gloria Bill to Make Schools Safer, More Supportive of LGBTQ Students Receives Committee Approval
Assemblymember Gloria: “All Students Should Feel Safe, Accepted, Included, and Supported in their School.”
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the Assembly’s Education Committee approved legislation authored by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) to help ensure California schools are better able to support LGBTQ students. Assembly Bill 493, also known as the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, now heads to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.
“Despite an overwhelming amount of harassment, many LGBTQ students do not report their troubles to school staff because they question whether or not effective intervention will occur,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “All students should feel safe, accepted, included, and supported in their school. This is why it is critical that teachers and staff are equipped with the training and tools they need to support our LGBT youth.”
Assemblymember Gloria’s Safe and Supportive Schools Act will require schools to provide teachers (grades seven through 12) and staff with training on school site and community resources available to support LGBTQ students. This will help ensure educators know how to best support LGBTQ students facing bullying, harassment, discrimination, and/or lack of acceptance at home or school.
“When children don't feel safe and supported in school, they can't learn," said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur following the bill’s passage. "Our public school teachers and staff have dedicated their lives to helping students succeed; we need to be giving them adequate training and support to do so. The Safe and Supportive Schools Act will do just that, and we're grateful to the Assembly Education Committee for recognizing that."
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.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Act is co-sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony 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.