Anti-Bullying ‘Seth’s Law’ Passes California Senate

 

California’s senate lawmakers passed a bill last week that will require schools to specifically enact policies against bullying related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, known as AB 9 or Seth’s Law, passed the Senate in a 24 to 14 vote late Thursday. The California Assembly passed the bill in June on a 52-26 vote. The legislation now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. He is expected to sign the legislation.

AB 9 is designed to ensure that every school in California implements anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies and programs that include actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, as well as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion. The law is also designed to give parents of children in California’s schools clearer knowledge of what to expect from school administrators when they are handling instances of bullying and ways of reporting concerns if parents think school administrators are not acting appropriately.

Seth’s Law is named after 13 year-old Seth Walsh who, because of pervasive anti-LGBT bullying, attempted suicide and died as a result of his injuries last year.

A federal investigation has since found evidence that Tehachapi school district, where Seth was a pupil, failed to take seriously reports by Seth’s friends and Seth’s mother, as well as Seth himself, that he was being bullied.

The investigation noted that, for a period stretching beyond two years, Seth was routinely verbally harassed for his gender nonconforming appearance, was touched inappropriately by other students, had food and water containers thrown at him, was made the subject of rumors and verbal assaults regarding his sexuality, and that the bullying became so bad that he ceased changing in the locker rooms as he feared for his own safety; and, while these were the more frequent incidents, this is not an exhaustive list of what 13 year-old Seth had to endure.

Administrators in the district dispute these findings but are making a number of changes including giving teachers and school staff lessons on how to best deal with instances of anti-LGBT bullying.

Currently there is no federal mandate specifically requiring schools to track and report anti-LGBT bullying, nor a framework for how to deal with such cases.

The Student Non-Discrimination ACT (SENDA), introduced in the House by Rep. Polis (D-COL), would add to existing federal statutes explicit protections against bullying on the grounds of perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

If schools receiving federal funds do not adequately combat and track incidents of anti-LGBT bullying or if school administrators are found to have discriminated against LGBT children then, under the Student Non Discrimination Act, their federal funding may be cut.

The legislation currently sits waiting to be taken up by Congress.

Related Reading:

Seth Walsh’s Mom Speaks Out About Her Son’s Anti-LGBT Bullying Related Death

Bullied Gay Teen Who Attempted Suicide Dies in Hospital

Ellen DeGeneres has an Important Message for LGBT Youth

 

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Cesar Augusto Serna Sz

65 comments

Beth M.
Beth M.4 years ago

We need this bill in every state in America and across the world.

Elena A.
Elena A.4 years ago

Dont Give Up Or In!!! Tell Someone
.by Elena Albee on Monday, September 26, 2011 at 1:04pm.
Elena Albee

Dont give up . tell someone tell every one even strangers because most just shrugg it off . if you didn't walk that way! if you didn't talk like that!




from the depths of hell, They were my Neighbors children

Hope, faith,, meditation, talking with the Angels yes I did! Proud to be here I didn't fight back , it's been the time! glad your ready ive waited for someone to stand with me, hold my hand I'm only alive because of prayer and Intuitive nature . let you be the reason a child can learn, a child can sing, a child doesn't have to taste the blood through the tears.

; Tell on them,They are the crimminal's

.Dont Give Up Or In!!! Tell Someone
.by Elena Albee on Monday, September 26, 2011 at 1:04pm.
Elena Albee

Jackie Agusta
Jackie Agusta4 years ago

Thanks for sharing...:-)

Winn Adams
Winnie Adams4 years ago

So glad to hear that CA will have this law but we need to educate people so there will be no need for a law like this.

Alex Hill
Alex Hill4 years ago

There is no excuse for turning a blind eye to bullying, period. No child should be afraid to go to school because their teachers are ignoring the disgusting behaviour of other students. Rest in peace Seth Walsh.

colleen p.
colleen p.4 years ago

it is wrong to bully someone who is sexualty attracted to dogs, but dosen't act on it?

Pamela H.
Pamela H.4 years ago

Finally a law to nip the psychos in the bud.

Tony C.
Tony C.4 years ago

A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation, children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anybody else. Common sense would dictate that if children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help not tease or bully others.
Later on Sex Education should be taught from Contraceptives, Masturbation,LGBT and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier and earlier. They should be taught the joys and the consequences of having sex ( Pregnancy,STD, AIDS ) But you say when will this be taught. Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in and remove Geometry and Algebra. They can learn this in college if need be. I believe this is a solution. Nipping it in the Bud so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principals where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

Sarah M.
Sarah M.4 years ago

NO type of bullying is ever acceptable!

Carol Fyfewilson

Schools need to offer positive character building lesson on tolerance and acceptance as well as enforcing anti- bullying campaign. Replace the negative with a positive learning.