Seth’s Law is named after a 13-year-old California student who tragically took his own life in 2010 after years of anti-gay bullying that his school failed to address. Now that we are in the midst of these types of discussions and legislations again, but on a national level, it’s a good idea to refresh our memories.
Seth’s Law requires public schools in California to update their anti-bullying policies and programs, and it focuses on protecting students who are bullied based on sexual orientation, gender identity/gender expression, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion.
California law says that all public-school students should have equal rights and opportunities. Yet many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students report that they experience significant bullying in California schools. And teachers, administrators, and other staff often fail to address the bullying when they see it.
What does state anti-bullying law require school districts to do?
- Adopt a strong anti-bullying policy that specifically spells out prohibited bases for bullying, including sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression.
- Adopt a specific process for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying, including a requirement that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying.
- Publicize the anti-bullying policy and complaint process, including posting the policy in all schools and offices.
- Post on the district website materials to support victims of bullying.
- School personnel must intervene
Seth’s Law specifically contains the following requirement: “If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.”
(Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))
If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying efforts, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.