Legislature Sends Bill to the Governor That Will Improve Climate for LGBTQ Students in Schools

Thursday, August 30, 2018

AB 2153 authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D- Richmond), provides educators with the training and resources they need to better support LGBTQ students in schools and the community. The bill passed out of the Legislature yesterday.

“LGBTQ students are subject to markedly higher rates of bullying than their peers which can lead to negative psychological effects,” Thurmond said. “As leaders, we have a responsibility to protect and support all of our students. There are available resources and we need to make sure our educators are aware of them.”

According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network only half of educators have taken action to create a safe environment for their LGBTQ students. LGBTQ students often do not report harassment to school staff because they doubt that effective intervention will occur. 91% of California’s LGBTQ students report hearing anti-LGBTQ remarks, 70% reported being called names or threatened based on their sexual orientation, and nearly one-third report physical harassment or assault.

“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.”

In recognition of the need to foster positive school climates, this year’s state budget allocates $15 million to expand the state’s Multi-Tiered System of Support framework. Eligible programs for school districts across the state include professional development activities designed to promote positive school climates, such as the educator and administrator training outlined in Thurmond’s AB 2153.

AB 2153 creates a more supportive and safe learning environment for LGBTQ students by requiring training for teachers of grades 7-12 to learn about available resources.

This bill is sponsored by Equality California and is supported by the California Teachers Association, American Civil Liberties Union of California, Anti-Defamation League, Common Sense Kids Action, and Our Family Coalition.

RELEASE CONTACT: Ayodeji Taylor (916) 319-2015

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.