It’s been 13 years, an entire generation of students, since California originally passed non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Now, with the state auditor's report on School Safety & Non-Discrimination Laws, we're finally getting some accountability -- and the news isn't good.
The audit clearly confirms what Gay-Straight Alliance youth leaders have experienced for years: California is falling short in its duty to ensure that all students – no matter their race, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression – are safe and have the opportunity to stay in school and succeed.
Image: 1999 Lobby Day for non-discrimination law
The audit reveals a breakdown in complaint procedures, inconsistent implementation of the law at school sites, and a need for more leadership and guidance from the California Department of Education.
We're heartened, though, by the Auditor's solid recommendations, including restorative justice, peer mediation, and other best practices that improve school climate and keep students in school. The report also calls out the importance of data collection and analysis to track the effectiveness of anti-discrimination and anti-bullying programs and tools. Over the year, we will use these recommendations to urge the CDE and local districts to show leadership and work with youth and community partners to ensure students have the opportunity to graduate.
Some of the audit's key findings: