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Discrimination re education.

SB 777, c. 569

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SB 777, c. 569: Discrimination re education. Revises the current list of prohibited bases of discrimination and the kinds of prohibited instruction, activities, and instructional materials in the Education Code, and instead refers to the protected characteristics contained in the definition of hate crimes in the Penal Code. Also defines disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation for this purpose. This bill changes the current references to "handicapped" individuals in the Education Code to, instead, refer to individuals with physical disabilities.

Equality California was the source of this legislation. Those who supported the bill included Asian Americans for Civil Rights, the California Parent Techer Association, the Gay, Straight Alliance Network, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Planned Parenthood, just to name a few.

Per the author of this meausre,

"Harassment based on discrimination is frequent in schools in California. Data from California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), the largest study of 7th-12th grade students, shows that each year, 14.3% of all students report harassment because of their race or ethnicity, 9.1% report harassment because of their religion, and 7.5% report harassment because they are gay or lesbian or someone thought they were, and nearly 400,000 students are harassed because of their race.

"Discriminatory harassment is a serious problem because it is linked to higher levels of academic, health and safety risk. Students who reported discriminatory harassment were twice as likely to be depressed, were more likely to use and abuse alcohol and other substances, and reported significantly lower grades than students who reported no harassment.

"Research has shown that inclusive school policies and curriculum make a difference: when students report that their schools have non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies that include sexual and gender identity, and when they say that they have learned about LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] issues at school, they report less harassment and they feel safer."

If you would like to order the legislative history of this bill [click here] .