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AB-537 Discrimination.(1999-2000)

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Assembly Bill No. 537
CHAPTER 587

An act to amend Sections 200, 220, 66251, and 66270 of, to add Section 241 to, and to amend and renumber Sections 221 and 66271 of, the Education Code, relating to discrimination.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  October 10, 1999. Approved by Governor  October 02, 1999. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 537, Kuehl. Discrimination.
(1) Existing law provides that it is the policy of the State of California to afford all persons in public schools and postsecondary institutions, regardless of their sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, or mental or physical disability, equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions of the state.
Existing law makes it a crime for a person, whether or not acting under color of law, to willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person, by force or threat of force, in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States because of the other person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation, or because he or she perceives that the other person has one or more of those characteristics.
This bill would also provide that it is the policy of the state to afford all persons in public school and postsecondary institutions equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions of the state, regardless of any basis referred to in the aforementioned paragraph.
(2) Existing law prohibits a person from being subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability in any program or activity conducted by any educational institution or postsecondary educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance or enrolls students who receive state student financial aid.
This bill would also prohibit a person from being subjected to discrimination on the basis of any basis referred to in paragraph (1) in any program or activity conducted by any educational institution or postsecondary educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance or enrolls students who receive state student financial aid.
(3) This bill would state that it does not require the inclusion of any curriculum, textbook, presentation, or other material in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution or a postsecondary educational institution and would prohibit this bill from being deemed to be violated by the omission of any curriculum, textbook, presentation, or other material in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution or a postsecondary educational institution.
To the extent that this bill would impose new duties on school districts and community college districts, it would impose a state-mandated local program. (4) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement, including the creation of a State Mandates Claims Fund to pay the costs of mandates that do not exceed $1,000,000 statewide and other procedures for claims whose statewide costs exceed $1,000,000.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

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


SECTION 1.

 This bill shall be known, and may be cited, as the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000.

SEC. 2.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Under the California Constitution, all students of public schools have the inalienable right to attend campuses that are safe, secure, and peaceful. Violence is the number one cause of death for young people in California and has become a public health problem of epidemic proportion. One of the Legislature’s highest priorities must be to prevent our children from the plague of violence.
(2) The fastest growing, violent crime in California is hate crime, and it is incumbent upon us to ensure that all students attending public school in California are protected from potentially violent discrimination. Educators see how violence affects youth every day; they know first hand that youth cannot learn if they are concerned about their safety. This legislation is designed to protect the institution of learning as well as our students.
(3) Not only do we need to address the issue of school violence but also we must strive to reverse the increase in teen suicide. The number of teens who attempt suicide, as well as the number who actually kill themselves, has risen substantially in recent years. Teen suicides in the United States have doubled in number since 1960 and every year over a quarter of a million adolescents in the United States attempt suicide. Sadly, approximately 4,000 of these attempts every year are completed. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youths 15 through 24 years of age. To combat this problem we must seriously examine these grim statistics and take immediate action to ensure all students are offered equal protection from discrimination under California law.

SEC. 3.

 Section 200 of the Education Code is amended to read:

200.
 It is the policy of the State of California to afford all persons in public schools, regardless of their sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, mental or physical disability, or regardless of any basis that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 422.6 of the Penal Code, equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions of the state. The purpose of this chapter is to prohibit acts which are contrary to that policy and to provide remedies therefor.

SEC. 4.

 Section 220 of the Education Code is amended to read:

220.
 No person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, color, mental or physical disability, or any basis that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 422.6 of the Penal Code in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance or enrolls pupils who receive state student financial aid.

SEC. 5.

 Section 221 of the Education Code is renumbered to read:

220.5.
 This article shall not apply to an educational institution which is controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization.

SEC. 6.

 Section 241 is added to the Education Code, to read:

241.
 Nothing in the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 requires the inclusion of any curriculum, textbook, presentation, or other material in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution or postsecondary educational institution; the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 shall not be deemed to be violated by the omission of any curriculum, textbook, presentation, or other material in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution or postsecondary educational institution.

SEC. 7.

 Section 66251 of the Education Code is amended to read:

66251.
 It is the policy of the State of California to afford all persons, regardless of their sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, mental or physical disability, or regardless of any basis that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 422.6 of the Penal Code, equal rights and opportunities in the postsecondary institutions of the state. The purpose of this chapter is to prohibit acts that are contrary to that policy and to provide remedies therefor.

SEC. 8.

 Section 66270 of the Education Code is amended to read:

66270.
 No person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability, or any basis that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 422.6 of the Penal Code in any program or activity conducted by any postsecondary educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance or enrolls students who receive state student financial aid.

SEC. 9.

 Section 66271 of the Education Code is renumbered to read:

66270.5.
 This chapter shall not apply to an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization.

SEC. 10.

 Notwithstanding Section 17610 of the Government Code, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code. If the statewide cost of the claim for reimbursement does not exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000), reimbursement shall be made from the State Mandates Claims Fund.