BILL NUMBER: AB 394	ENROLLED
	BILL TEXT

	PASSED THE SENATE  SEPTEMBER 11, 2007
	PASSED THE ASSEMBLY  SEPTEMBER 12, 2007
	AMENDED IN SENATE  JULY 18, 2007
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  JUNE 1, 2007
	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  MARCH 29, 2007

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Levine

                        FEBRUARY 15, 2007

   An act to add Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 234) to Chapter
2 of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code, relating
to discrimination.



	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 394, Levine. Safe schools: discrimination and harassment.
   Existing law prohibits discrimination on the basis of specified
protected characteristics, including, but not limited to, actual and
perceived gender identification and sexual orientation, in any
program or activity conducted by an educational institution, as
specified.
   This bill would require the State Department of Education to
monitor adherence to the antidiscrimination and antiharassment
requirements as part of its regular monitoring and review of local
educational agencies and to assess whether local educational agencies
have done certain things, including, among others, adopted a policy
that prohibits discrimination and harassment and adopted a process
for receiving and investigating complaints of discrimination and
harassment. The department would be required to display information
on curricula and other resources that specifically address
bias-related discrimination and harassment on specified Internet Web
sites. The department would also be required to develop, and post on
appropriate department Internet Web sites, a model handout describing
certain rights and obligations relating to antidiscrimination and
antiharassment and the policies addressing bias-related
discrimination and harassment in schools.


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 in public primary, elementary, middle, junior high,
and senior high schools have the inalienable right to attend school
at school campuses that are safe, secure, and peaceful.
   (b) Pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 201 of the Education
Code, public schools in California have an affirmative obligation to
combat racism, sexism, and other forms of bias, and a responsibility
to provide equal educational opportunity.
   (c) The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of
2000 reaffirmed the right of all pupils to a safe school environment
by prohibiting a person from being subjected to discrimination on the
basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin,
religion, color, mental or physical disability, or an actual or
perceived characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate
crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code in a 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.
   (d) Hate-motivated incidents jeopardize the safety and well-being
of all pupils because they target not only the individual victim, but
everyone who shares the identity that motivated the particular
incident. Unfortunately, there have been increasing reports of
hate-motivated incidents and crimes in California schools.
   (e) (1) Numerous studies point to an ongoing problem of
discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools that has severe
consequences for pupils. For example, the 2004-06 California Healthy
Kids Survey results found that between 27 to 30 percent of California
middle and high school pupils reported experiencing bias-related
harassment at school related to their race, ethnicity, gender,
religion, sexual orientation, or disability.
   (2) Many school districts are not effectively addressing
discrimination and harassment on campus. Less than half of grade 9
pupils express feeling safe at school, while 46 percent of pupils
said their schools were not safe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) pupils.
   (3) Many teachers have not received training to prevent or respond
to illegal discrimination and harassment. A majority of school
districts do not require training on how to address discrimination
and harassment based on sexual orientation for their elementary,
middle, or high school teachers.
   (4) Many pupils and parents are unaware of nondiscrimination
policies, with 23 percent of pupils and 29 percent of parents not
being informed of the policies.
   (f) In a public hearing conducted on October 3, 2002, by the
California Senate Select Committee on School Safety, pupils,
teachers, parents, researchers, and advocates from all over the state
testified about incidents of ongoing discrimination and harassment
and an inadequate response from school authorities.
   (g) Bias-related discrimination and harassment have negative
consequences for pupil health, well-being, and academic success. For
example, the Safe Place to Learn report issued by the California Safe
Schools Coalition and the 4-H Center for Youth Development at the
Davis campus of the University of California found that pupils who
are harassed based on actual or perceived sexual orientation are at
least three times more likely to carry a weapon to school, to
seriously consider suicide, to make a plan for attempting suicide, or
to miss at least one day of school per 30 schooldays because they do
not feel safe. In addition, a survey of San Francisco Asian American
youth found that 36 percent cited racial tension as the primary
cause for fights on campus.
   (h) A number of school districts have paid hundreds of thousands
of dollars in damages to settle lawsuits by pupils claiming their
schools failed to protect them from harassment, intimidation, and
violence, including a June 2005 jury award of three hundred thousand
dollars ($300,000) in San Diego to two former high school pupils for
the harassment they received at school based on their actual or
perceived sexual orientation and a January 2007 settlement of
forty-five thousand dollars ($45,000) in a Contra Costa County
lawsuit alleging that school officials failed to protect a pupil from
repeated attacks motivated by racial and ethnic prejudice.
  SEC. 2.  Article 5.5 (commencing with Section 234) is added to
Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code,
to read:

      Article 5.5.  Safe Place to Learn Act


   234.  (a) This article shall be known and may be cited as the Safe
Place to Learn Act.
   (b) It is the policy of the State of California to ensure that all
local educational agencies continue to work to reduce
discrimination, harassment, and violence. It is further the policy of
the state to improve pupil safety at schools and the connections
between pupils and supportive adults, schools, and communities.
   234.1.  The department, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section
64001, shall monitor adherence to the requirements of Chapter 5.3
(commencing with Section 4900) of Division 1 of Title 5 of the
California Code of Regulations and Chapter 2 (commencing with Section
200) as part of its regular monitoring and review of local
educational agencies, commonly known as the Categorical Program
Monitoring process. The department shall assess whether local
educational agencies have done all of the following:
   (a) Adopted a policy that prohibits discrimination and harassment
based on the characteristics set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal
Code and Section 220.
   (b) Adopted a process for receiving and investigating complaints
of discrimination and harassment based on the characteristics set
forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code and Section 220.
   (c) Publicized antidiscrimination and antiharassment policies,
including information about the manner in which to file a complaint,
to pupils, parents, employees, agents of the governing board, and the
general public. The information shall be translated pursuant to
Section 48985.
   (d) Posted antidiscrimination and antiharassment policies in all
schools and offices, including staff lounges and pupil government
meeting rooms.
   (e) Maintained documentation of complaints and their resolution
for a minimum of one review cycle.
   (f) Ensured that complainants are protected from retaliation and
that the identity of a complainant alleging discrimination or
harassment remains confidential, as appropriate.
   (g) Identified a responsible local educational agency officer for
ensuring district or office compliance with the requirements of
Chapter 5.3 (commencing with Section 4900) of Division 1 of Title 5
of the California Code of Regulations and Chapter 2 (commencing with
Section 200).
   234.2.  The department shall display information on curricula and
other resources that specifically address bias-related discrimination
and harassment based on the characteristics set forth in Section
422.55 of the Penal Code and Section 220 on the California Healthy
Kids Resource Center Internet Web site and other appropriate
department Internet Web sites where information about discrimination
and harassment is posted.
   234.3.  The department shall develop a model handout describing
the rights and obligations set forth in Sections 200, 201, and 220
and the policies addressing bias-related discrimination and
harassment in schools. This model handout shall be posted on
appropriate department Internet Web sites.