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AB-493 Teachers: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning pupil resources and training.(2019-2020)



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AB493:v93#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 493
CHAPTER 775

An act to add Article 2.7 (commencing with Section 218) to Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code, relating to teachers.

[ Approved by Governor  October 12, 2019. Filed with Secretary of State  October 12, 2019. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 493, Gloria. Teachers: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning pupil resources and training.
(1) Existing law establishes the system of public elementary and secondary schools in this state and provides for the establishment of local educational agencies to operate these schools and provide instruction to pupils. Existing law states the policy of the State of California to afford all persons in public schools, regardless of their disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other specified characteristic, equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions of the state.
This bill would encourage each school operated by a school district or county office of education and each charter school to use resources developed by the State Department of Education to provide training at least once every 2 years to teachers and other certificated employees at that school that serve pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive, and to other certificated employees at that school, on schoolsite and community resources for the support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) pupils, and strategies to increase support for LGBTQ pupils and thereby improve overall school climate, as specified.
The bill, no later than July 1, 2021, would require the State Department of Education to develop resources or, as appropriate, update existing resources for in-service training on schoolsite and community resources for the support of LGBTQ pupils, and strategies to increase support for LGBTQ pupils, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) All pupils deserve and need safe and supportive school environments in which to learn.
(b) Despite much progress, California lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) pupils often face verbal, physical, and online harassment, which has significant effects on their academic achievement.
(c) In the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) 2017 National School Climate Survey, over 70 percent of LGBTQ pupils nationwide reported being called names or threatened based on their sexual orientation, nearly one in four LGBTQ pupils reported physical harassment based on their gender expression, and over 48 percent reported cyberbullying.
(d) These problems have direct effects on how pupils perform in school. GLSEN’s 2017 survey data shows that the average grade point average for LGBTQ pupils who experience higher levels of harassment is significantly lower than for LGBTQ pupils who experience lower levels of harassment, and that nearly 35 percent of LGBTQ pupils report missing school because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, with over 10 percent missing four or more full days in the month immediately preceding the survey.
(e) In spite of these problems, research has shown that over half of LGBTQ pupils who are harassed or assaulted in school do not report these incidents to school staff, primarily because they doubt any effective intervention will occur or because they fear that the incidents could escalate if reported.
(f) Creating supportive learning environments for LGBTQ pupils improves their performance in school. Pupils in schools with peer support clubs report lower levels of victimization, are more likely to report that school personnel intervened when they witnessed harassment, and are less likely to miss school because of safety concerns.

SEC. 2.

 Article 2.7 (commencing with Section 218) is added to Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code, to read:
Article  2.7. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Pupil Resources

218.
 (a) (1) No later than July 1, 2021, the department shall develop resources or, as appropriate, update existing resources for in-service training on schoolsite and community resources for the support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) pupils, and strategies to increase support for LGBTQ pupils and thereby improve overall school climate. The resources shall be designed for use in schools operated by a school district or county office of education and charter schools serving pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive.
(2) Schools described in paragraph (1) are encouraged to use the resources developed by the department pursuant to paragraph (1) to provide training at least once every two years to teachers and other certificated employees at those schools that serve pupils in grades 7 to 12, inclusive.
(b) The department shall periodically update the schoolsite and community resources for the support of LGBTQ pupils to reflect changes in law.
(c) (1) As used in this section, schoolsite resources for the support of LGBTQ pupils include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Peer support or affinity clubs and organizations.
(B) Safe spaces for LGBTQ pupils.
(C) Antibullying and harassment policies and related complaint procedures.
(D) Counseling services.
(E) School staff who have received antibias or other training aimed at supporting LGBTQ youth.
(F) Health and other curriculum materials that are inclusive of, and relevant to, LGBTQ youth.
(G) Suicide prevention policies and related procedures.
(H) Policies relating to use of school facilities, including, but not limited to, bathrooms and locker rooms.
(I) Policies and procedures to protect the privacy of LGBTQ pupils.
(2) As used in this section, community resources for the support of LGBTQ pupils include, but are not limited to, both of the following:
(A) Local community-based organizations that provide support to LGBTQ youth.
(B) Local physical and mental health providers with experience in treating and supporting LGBTQ youth.