LGBTQ Fresno joins coalition supporting AB 1955

AB 1955, the Support Academic Futures & Educators for Today’s Youth Act (SAFETY Act), would strengthen existing California protections against forced outings of LGBTQ+ students in schools; provide critical supports and resources for parents and families of LGBTQ+ students to support families in working towards family acceptance on their own terms; and provide additional protections to educators who face retaliatory actions from administrators and school boards for seeking to create an inclusive and safe school environment.

What are “forced outing” policies?

Forced outing policies require teachers to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender, with no exceptions. These policies are often enacted without regard for whether doing so would likely threaten and/or harm the safety of the child.

Does this bill require teachers to deceive parents?

No. It allows students and their parents to decide when they are ready to initiate conversations with one another about gender and sexual orientation. This lets teachers focus on doing their job of supporting and affirming students at school, and is already what California law and the vast majority of school district policies require.

Of course, every parent wants to be informed – and in the overwhelming majority of cases, that’s exactly what happens, with young people coming out to and seeking support from family members. However, the sad reality is that in some cases, an LGBTQ+ youth isn’t safe or supported at home – and in those cases, they need the option of seeking out resources at school.

Does the SAFETY Act take control away from local authorities?

This bill does not subject school districts to new requirements. It simply codifies longstanding law and guidance into statute. Local control does not give school districts the right to discriminate or invite discrimination, nor does local control give politicians and other actors the right to force families to have conversations.

Does the SAFETY Act take away parental rights or erase the ability of parents to raise their children?

No – parents are always free to have important conversations with their children at home. This bill prevents politicians and local governments from inappropriately intervening in family matters and attempting to control if, when, and how families have those deeply personal conversations.

Is CDE’s guidance around parental notification enforceable? Does it make sense to pass a law now given that there is so much ongoing litigation around this issue?

CDE’s guidance is simply that–guidance. However, the law that informs the guidance is enforceable and both the Attorney General and the California Department of Education have shown that they are ready and willing to take action to enforce it.

The fact that multiple courts have been considering this issue and reaching different outcomes underscores the need for the legislature to act now to ensure that students, parents, and educators get the clarity they need and that California schools remain safe spaces for students and staff.

Doesn’t existing law already prohibit school districts from outing students without their consent? If so, why do we need the SAFETY Act?

Yes, students have a constitutional right to privacy when it comes to sensitive information about them, and courts have affirmed that young people have a right to keep personal information private. Under existing law, school staff are prohibited from outing students unless they have the student’s consent or are required to in a limited set of circumstances under state or federal law.
The California Department of Education has issued guidance to help school districts ensure they are developing and implementing policies that comply with the law.

The SAFETY Act is necessary now because there has been a significant increase in policies and actions targeting LGBTQ+ students and the school personnel who support them. Some of these policies would require school staff to out students to their parents/guardians, in violation of existing law. Passing the SAFETY Act will send a clear message that California schools should be safe spaces for students and staff.


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