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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: # 24-31
May 22, 2024
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Joins Legislators and LGBTQ+ Advocates to Support Legislation for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for All Students

Assembly Bill 1955 would prohibit school districts from implementing forced outing policies

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today joined Assemblymember Chris Ward External link opens in new window or tab. (D-San Diego) and Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman External link opens in new window or tab. (D-Stockton), Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, along with teachers, parents, and LGBTQ+ advocates, to announce Assembly Bill (AB) 1955, the Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth (SAFETY) Act, to ensure all students have a safe and supportive environment to learn regardless of gender identity.

If signed into law, the SAFETY Act would prohibit school districts from implementing forced outing policies, provide resources for parents and students to navigate conversations around gender and identity on their own terms, and ensure teachers or school staff are not retaliated against for refusing to forcibly out a student.

“All of our students deserve to be safe at school in order to learn and thrive,” Thurmond said. “AB 1955 protects our LGBTQ+ youth from increased risk of bullying and harassment, and it affirms families’ ability to handle family matters at home without school employees being forced to intervene. The SAFETY Act will allow our teachers to focus on teaching academic skills—not on policing gender identity.”

Since 2020, six states have passed laws requiring school staff to forcibly out transgender students, and five states have passed legislation promoting the outing of transgender students in school External link opens in new window or tab.. California would be the first state to explicitly prohibit forced outing policies in schools.

“Teachers should not be the gender police and violate the trust and safety of the students in their classrooms,” Assemblymember Ward said. “Parents should be talking to their children, and the decision for a student to come out to their family members should be on their own terms. The SAFETY Act simply ensures that conversations about gender identity and sexuality happen at home without interference from others outside of the family unit.”

“School campuses should be safe places for students to learn and grow as their authentic selves,” Senator Eggman said. “The SAFETY Act is a critical piece of legislation that seeks to protect everyone on school campuses, especially LGBTQ+ students. When and how a person comes out is a conversation that should be reserved for a student and a parent, not arbitrarily forced on unsuspecting youth by a school administration.”

Transgender youth are entitled to safe school environments free from discrimination—even when they may feel unsafe or unaffirmed at home. According to a 2024 Trevor Project survey External link opens in new window or tab., fewer than 40 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth say that their homes are LGBTQ+–affirming. The survey also found that more than half of transgender and nonbinary young people found their school to be gender-affirming, and those who did reported lower rates of attempting suicide.

Thurmond has a strong record of supporting LGBTQ+ students and educators. In 2019, Thurmond and the Equality California Institute co-sponsored a bill that encourages teachers to receive training on school and community resources available to support LGBTQ+ students facing bullying, harassment, discrimination, or lack of acceptance at home or school. As a result, last year, the CDE partnered with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to lead trainings for teachers with critical resources they need to help California’s LGBTQ+ students.

Thurmond sponsored Senate Bill 760—All-Gender Restrooms (Newman), which requires all K–12 schools in California to provide appropriate and equitable access to all-gender restrooms for students to use during school hours, and AB 5—The Safe and Supportive Schools Act (Zbur), which requires all K–12 schools in California to provide training to support LGBTQ+ pupils.

Thurmond has also been a strong supporter of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) LGBTQ+ Pride Committee, which played a key role in organizing the first-ever Progress Pride Flag Raising Ceremony and reception at the CDE Headquarters last June. The historic event marked the first day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and the Progress Pride Flag flew at the CDE Headquarters in Sacramento from June 1 through June 30, 2023.

Another of Thurmond’s goals is to create an LGBTQ+ Statewide Advisory Task Force (LGBTQ+ SAT). This task force is charged with identifying the needs of LGBTQ+ students and will make recommendations to assist in implementing supportive policies and initiatives to address LGBTQ+ student education and well-being. The LGBTQ+ SAT will comprise California students, school staff, mental health professionals, and community advocates and is required to report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature, the Superintendent, and the Governor. The task force will meet virtually approximately six times between July 2024 and January 2026.

To apply for Thurmond’s LGBTQ+ SAT, please fill out the Appointments Application by May 29, 2024. More information on how to support LGBTQ+ students is available on the CDE Supporting LGBTQ+ Students web page.

The SAFETY Act is anticipated to be heard in the Senate Education Committee next week.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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