Proposed Law May Require California Teachers To Attend LGBT Training Sessions
A new, proposed law may require public and charter school teachers in California to attend LGBT training sessions. The bill, which was first read on the Assembly floor in February 2019, proposes that these training sessions will help create “supportive learning environments” for LGBT students.
Assemblyman Todd Gloria first introduced Assembly Bill 493 on Feb. 12, 2019.
“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,” Gloria said, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“Equipping educators with resources to better support LGBTQ students will create a safer and more inclusive environment for these students to be successful.”
Six of the eight Assembly Bill 493’s co-authors — including Gloria, who is the vice chair — are members of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus that was formed in 2002 to create a forum “to discuss issues that affect LGBTQ Californians and to further the goal of equality and justice for all Californians.”
The bill cites the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s National School Climate Survey from 2017, which reported that 70 percent of LGBT students across the nation claimed they had been bullied due to their sexual orientation.
GLSEN’s survey also concluded that one in four LGBT students claimed they had been victims of physical harassment and that 48 percent of LGBT students reported acts of cyberbullying.
As a result, GLSEN concluded that a “hostile school climate” has a direct result on LGBT student’s academic success, affecting LGBT student’s average grade point averages and their attendance records due to feeling unsafe.
The proposed bill aims to “improve overall school climate” by equipping teachers and other certified employees with a state-developed curriculum that “increases support” for LGBT students.
If passed, the law would require the State Department of Education to create resources that are traceable, measurable and interactive after consulting “leading experts in supporting LGBTQ pupils.”
After the curriculum is created, teachers would be required to attend an in-person training once every two years.
In addition to the training, schools would need to provide on-site resources to LGBT students such as peer support clubs, designated “safe spaces,” antibullying policies and counseling services.
The bill also mandates that health and other curriculum materials would be “inclusive of, and relevant to, LGBTQ youth,” KOVR reported.
Jonathan Keller, the president of the California Family Council, argued the bill will be used to bully teachers into violating their beliefs.
“AB 493 would unconstitutionally force every teacher and student to reject biological reality about sexuality and gender, and instead mandate the views of LGBT political activists as the only acceptable opinion. Sadly, Mr. Gloria is attempting to fight bullying by becoming a bully himself.”
Tony Thurmond, the state superintendent of public instruction, introduced an identical bill last legislative session when he was an assemblyman, but Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto stopped the bill from being passed.
Brown vetoed the bill, claiming that current law already requires the California Department of Education to ensure local schools implement anti-discrimination policies.
“If local schools find that more training or resources on this topic is needed, they have the flexibility to use their resources as they see best,” Brown wrote.
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed AB 493 on Aug. 30, 2019; it will go before the full Senate next. If the bill becomes law, it will be put into effect for the 2021-22 school year.
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