California State Laws Protecting LGBTQQ and All Youth
A quick reference guide for youth, educators, school districts, parents, guardians and caregivers in California. Click on the titles for full fact sheets.
AB 537: STUDENT SAFETY AND VIOLENCE PREVENTION ACT (pdf)
Added protections to the general non-discrimination act for CA Public Schools to include actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The existing non-discrimination policy also prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability.
AB 394: SAFE PLACE TO LEARN ACT (pdf)
Requires CA Department of Education to regularly monitor school districts regarding what steps have been taken to ensure compliance with AB 537. Makes information available on trainings, curricula, and other resources that specifically and effectively address bias-motivated discrimination and harassment in schools.
SB 777: STUDENT CIVIL RIGHTS ACT (pdf)
Strengthens AB 537 by standardizing the general laws for CA schools. This legislation updates and explicitly lists all the prohibited categories of discrimination in publicly funded K-12 schools and institutions of higher education (i.e. Disability, Gender, Nationality, Race or ethnicity, Religion, Sexual orientation, etc.)
SB 71: CALIFORNIA COMPREHENSIVE SEXUAL HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS PREVENTION EDUCATION ACT (pdf)
This law has two purposes: 1) To provide a pupil with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect his or her sexual and reproductive health from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (or infections); 2) To encourage a pupil to develop healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender roles, sexual orientation, dating, marriage, and family.
SB 518: THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SAFETY AND PROTECTION ACT (pdf)
This law protects LGBT youth and straight youth from discrimination in state Department of Juvenile Justice facilities. The bill includes institution of a Youth Bill of Rights, statutory anti-bias rules, and a toll-free help hotline that youth can call to report rights violations.
SB 543: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR AT-RISK YOUTH ACT (Effective January 1, 2011) (pdf)
This law helps ensure that youth do not have to wait until their mental health situations become dire and their safety is compromised by suicide, substance abuse or violence to receive services. This legislation allows youth ages 12-17 to consent to mental health treatment or counseling when the attending professional believes the youth is mature enough to participate intelligently in the services or when the youth would present a danger of serious physical or mental harm to self or others without the services. SB 543 still requires the involvement of the minor’s parent or guardian if or when the attending professional determines parental involvement is appropriate.
California State Laws Protecting LGBTQQ Foster Youth
AB 458: CALIFORNIA FOSTER CARE NON-DISCRIMINATION ACT (pdf)
Prohibits discrimination in the California foster care system on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status. Because training is crucial to enable service providers to fulfill their responsibilities to provide safe and nondiscriminatory care, placement, and services to foster children, AB 458 also mandates initial and ongoing training for all group home administrators, foster parents, and department licensing personnel. This law is the first of its kind in the United States to explicitly include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and adults involved with the foster care system.
AB 3015: FOSTER YOUTH SCHOOL SAFETY EDUCATION (pdf)
Requires that existing training programs for foster youth, foster youth group homes, child welfare personnel, foster parents, and relative caregivers, include information about the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act (AB 537), the Safe Place to Learn Act (394), and the Student Civil Rights Act (SB 777). Ensuring that foster youth and their caregivers understand existing laws that protect students from bias-motivated discrimination and harassment will help to reduce the incidence of violence directed toward foster youth in their school setting.
More Resources for Foster Youth
- Queer & Trans Youth in California Foster Care Have Rights: A Know Your Rights Guide (pdf)
- 10 Facts Every Foster Youth Should Know
- Foster Youth: Know Your Rights
- Bust N Out
- A Survival Guide for Teenagers
SB 48: FAIR EDUCATION ACT
“If enacted, Senate Bill 48 — the Fair Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful, or FAIR, Education Act–would prohibit the exclusion of LGBT people in school curriculum and instruction materials in grades K-12.” “Senator Mark Leno said the bill would take effect in January 2012, which would mean a shift in lesson standards by the beginning of the school year in August 2012.” -Read full article