News & Resources

Equality California Survey Shows California Schools Aren’t Consistently Implementing Laws Protecting LGBTQ Kids

May 21, 2019 | Legal Developments and News

On May 13, 2019, Equality California Institute published the Safe and Supportive Schools Report Card, an analysis of their rating of school districts’ LBGTQ policies in the areas of school climate, curriculum, cultural competency training, suicide prevention, and transgender and gender-nonconforming students. The report card-style analysis placed K-12 school districts on 3 tiers: spotlight districts (top tier), foundational districts (middle tier), and priority districts (lowest tier) based on their responses to a survey.

Of 343 school districts asked to participate, 130 districts responded; 22 school districts were given top tier ratings, 80 were placed in the middle tier, and 28 were considered priority districts. Among the key findings related to responding school districts:

  • All districts had existing anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and intimidation, and anti-bullying policies.
  • 46 districts reported not offering training to employees that covered diversity, anti-bias, cultural competency, or equity and inclusion.
  • 112 districts reported all schools in their district allow students to facilities (restroom, locker room) corresponding to students’ gender identity, and 84 districts reported at least one gender-neutral restroom located in an easily accessible area (e.g., not located in the nurse’s office or teachers’ lounge).
  • 65 districts reported that the contributions of LGBTQ individuals are taught in government, history, and/or social studies classes.
  • 88 districts reported that their sexual health curriculum incorporates discussion of relationships other than cisgender heterosexual relationships.
  • 118 districts reported that they have adopted a policy on pupil suicide prevention in grades 7 to 12, and 94 of those reported their policy specifically addressed the needs of LGBTQ youth in some way.

The report highlights ways California school districts can create safe learning environments inclusive of LGBTQ students. Equality California suggests school districts focus on:

1.  Providing LGBTQ-inclusive cultural competency trainings for teachers and staff.
2.  Normalizing access to restrooms, facilities, and participation in competitive sports that correspond to gender identity to mitigate the risk for bullying and harassment.
3.  Updating policies or curriculum to be in compliance with California’s educational codes and the FAIR Education Act.

If you have any questions regarding this report, please do not hesitate to contact a DWK attorney in our Students and Special Education practice group.


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