Students have legal rights in schools. Students have the right to be protected from harassment and discrimination under state and federal laws. Knowing and understanding these legal rights can help students create a safer environment in their schools. Below is a list of the California laws that are in place that protect all students.

  • AB 1266, School Success and Opportunity Act (2013) provides guidance to schools so they can make sure that all students have the opportunity to do well in school and graduate. It amends the California Education Code and allows students to compete in sports teams and use facilities, including restrooms, based on their gender identity, regardless of whether they are listed as a male or female in official student records. It eliminates all sex-segregated school programs and facilities.
  • AB 887, Gender Nondiscrimination Act (2011) clarifies the law by explicitly adding gender identity to the list of protected classes. Previously, although the law did protect against discrimination on the basis of gender, it was clearly not stated in California Codes.
  • AB 9, Seth’s Law (2011) tightens anti-bullying policies in California schools by ensuring that all schools have clear and consistent policies and by establishing timelines for investigating claims of bullying. It requires school personnel to intervene whenever they see instances of bullying create a respectful and safe environment for all students. San Diego Unified’s Policy A-3550 addresses bullying, harassment or intimidation.
  • SB 543, Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth (2010; amended in 2015) permits youth ages 12-17 to consent to mental health treatment without parental permission if the attending professional believes the youth is mature enough to make the decision or if the youth would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to self and others without services. Previously, parental consent requirements for mental health services created a barrier to treatment that was especially harmful to LGBT youth who may be put at risk of emotional or physical abuse by coming out to their parents prematurely or with support.
  • SB 572, Harvey Milk Day (2009) requires the Governor to annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, a day of special recognition in California, and encourages public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date.
  • AB 394, Safe Place to Learn Act (2007), requires the California Department of Education to regularly monitor districts’ complaint process and procedures and whether or not school districts have adopted, posted and publicized district anti-discrimination policies that include the same protected categories as the Education Code, including sexual orientation and gender identity. It also requires CDE to make available to school districts information about curricula, training and other resources schools can use to prevent harassment and discrimination.
  • SB 71, Comprehensive Sex Ed Law (2003) requires sexual health education to be more inclusive of healthy attitudes regarding gender, sexual orientation, marriage, family and body image. Requires materials and instruction to be medically accurate, age appropriate, objective and not based on religious doctrine. Requires that school districts adopt an “opt out” policy in regards to sexual health education instead of an “opt in” policy.
  • California Education Code 200 (2000) states that it is the policy of the State of California to afford all persons in public schools, regardless of their disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that in the definition of hate crimes (Penal Code, Section 422.55), equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions in the state.
  • AB 537, California Student Safety and Violence Preventions Act (2000) amends the California Ed Code specifically prohibiting discrimination against and harassment of students and staff in schools on the basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability. This law added the provision that all students and staff in public schools have the same right to a safe learning environment regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identity.

Contact

Office of Youth Advocacy
4100 Normal Street
☎ (619) 725-5595