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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #24-35
July 2, 2024
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Thurmond Celebrates Passage of LGBTQ+ Legislation for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for All Students; Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

AB 1955 would make California the first state to prohibit forced outing policies in schools.

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today applauded the passage of AB 1955: Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth Act (SAFETY Act) by the California Legislature to ensure all students have access to safe and supportive learning environments regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The bill, which was supported by Superintendent Thurmond, has gone to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk for his signature to become law.

AB 1955, The SAFETY Act, was introduced by Assemblymember Chris Ward External link opens in new window or tab. (D-San Diego) and co-authored by State Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman External link opens in new window or tab., Vice-Chair and Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ+ Caucus, along with co-authors and Assembly Members Al Muratsuchi External link opens in new window or tab., Sabrina Cervantes External link opens in new window or tab., Corey Jackson External link opens in new window or tab., Alex Lee External link opens in new window or tab., Evan Low External link opens in new window or tab., and Rick Chavez Zbur External link opens in new window or tab., and State Senators Toni Atkins External link opens in new window or tab., John Laird External link opens in new window or tab., Caroline Menjivar External link opens in new window or tab., Susan Rubio External link opens in new window or tab., Scott Wiener External link opens in new window or tab. and Steve Padilla External link opens in new window or tab.. The bill was supported by Superintendent Thurmond, who has actively worked to push back against extremist attacks on the privacy rights of students who are LGBTQ+.

In the wake of the increasing number of school districts passing forced-outing policies, students and parents alike have reached out to Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education to voice significant concerns about the safety of LGBTQ+ students.

The SAFETY Act prohibits and invalidates any adopted school board policy, rule, or administrative regulation that requires forced outings. The SAFETY Act does not limit students’ and parents’ ability to discuss gender identities within their own families in the manner that they choose. The Act states that a school employee shall not be required to disclose any information related to a pupil’s LGBTQ+ identity to any other person without the pupil’s consent unless otherwise required by state or federal law. The Act does not limit a parent’s ability to request school records.

According to a 2024 survey conducted by the Trevor Project External link opens in new window or tab., 90 percent of young people who are LGBTQ+ report that their well-being has been negatively impacted by recent politics. Nearly half of LGBTQ+ youth ages thirteen to seventeen report experiencing bullying within the past year, and those who did report significantly higher rates of attempting suicide.

The SAFETY Act provides critical resources for parents, guardians, and families of LGBTQ+ students to navigate conversations around gender and identity on their own terms, and ensures teachers or school staff are not retaliated against for refusing to forcibly out a student.

“I am proud to work alongside our legislators who have courageously championed the privacy rights of our most vulnerable students, and whose partnership has helped ensure that this bill made it to the Governor’s desk for signing. This is a major step forward for the rights of students and families, and it a reason to celebrate with our LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month,” Thurmond said. “All of our students deserve to be safe at school in order to learn and thrive. Our LGBTQ+ youth need to be protected from bullying and harassment at school, and the families of our LGBTQ+ youth deserve privacy and dignity to handle deeply personal matters at home, without the forced intervention of school employees. Our teachers can now focus on teaching the critical academic skills that our students need to succeed, not on policing the gender identities of children.”

Transgender youth are entitled to safe school environments free from discrimination. According to a 2024 Trevor Project survey, LGBTQ+ youth who report living in very accepting communities attempt suicide at less than half the rate of those who report living in very unaccepting communities.

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..

Superintendent Thurmond has consistently worked to defend the rights of 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 the critical resources they need to help California’s LGBTQ+ students.

Superintendent Thurmond sponsored SB 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.

Superintendent Thurmond is also in the process of creating an LGBTQ+ Statewide Advisory Task Force (LGBTQ+ SAT) as a result of Senate Bill 857 (Laird). 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 be comprised of 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 by January 2026.

More information on how to support LGBTQ+ students is available on the CDE Supporting LGBTQ+ Students web page.

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

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 2, 2024
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