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State, Local Officials To Introduce Bill Requiring Support For LGBTQ Youth

The California State Capitol in the early evening in Sacramento, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.
Associated Press
The California State Capitol in the early evening in Sacramento, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.

Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will announce a bill Wednesday that would help create a more supportive environment in the state's public schools for LGBTQ youth.

According to Thurmond, the bill would mandate that schools provide information to teachers and staff on how to best address LGBTQ students in grades 7-12 who are dealing with bullying, harassment or discrimination. Schools must also offer services like counseling and inclusive curriculum materials.

Thurmond and Equality California originally proposed a similar bill last year, which passed overwhelmingly in the Assembly and the Senate. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill, arguing that current laws regarding school resources for LGBTQ youth were sufficient and schools were welcome to go further than the minimum.

LGBTQ rights activists refuted that idea at the time. Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur said the state's status quo "is failing California's LGBTQ students and denying too many a shot at success." A 2017 national survey by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that 82 percent of LGBTQ students heard homophobic or transphobic remark at their school and roughly 70 percent had been harassed or threatened for their sexual orientation.

Gloria and Thurmond will be joined by officials from the San Diego Unified School District and Equality California representatives to unveil the bill. The news conference is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. at San Diego High School.

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