California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act Lawyer

We help put the ‘fair’ back in ‘fair fight’

For more than 15 years, the State of California, the Department of Education and various individual school boards have worked to make our public schools safe for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The state Education Code and several legislative Acts define the intent for safe schools.

Unfortunately, safe schools are still a goal; not yet a reality for many LGBT youth who suffer from school bullying.

If you know a young person who has suffered physical violence, assault or threats of violence at school, he or she has been the victim of a hate crime. Talk to your school principal and school superintendent, but
talk with a lawyer at The Dolan Law Firm. Call 888.452.4752 to speak with a California safe schools attorney.

We are San Francisco lawyers dedicated to helping the victims of school bullying and assault. We will review your case and advise you if a civil case can be brought against the people who are bullying or who have assaulted you or your child. Contact our San Francisco law firm for a free consultation with a lawyer who understands the challenges LGBT youth face.

The Dolan Law Firm has represented numerous individuals who have been the victim of hate crimes because of their gender identity, sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay no fees or costs upfront.

California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 (Assembly Bill (AB) 537)

The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, Assembly Bill (AB) 537, was passed by the California Legislature in September 1999 and was signed into law by Governor Gray Davis. The law prohibits discrimination in California public schools on the same grounds used to define hate crimes under California law.

Through AB537 the Legislature added two new forms of discrimination to the existing prohibitions against discrimination and harassment in California public schools: actual or perceived sexual orientation and actual or perceived gender.

Education Code: Section 200-221.1

200. It is the policy of the State of California to afford all persons in public schools, regardless of their disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code, equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions of the state. The purpose of this chapter is to prohibit acts that are contrary to that policy and to provide remedies therefor.

201. (a) All pupils have the right to participate fully in the educational process, free from discrimination and harassment.

(b) California’s public schools have an affirmative obligation to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of bias, and a responsibility to provide equal educational opportunity.

(c) Harassment on school grounds directed at an individual on the basis of personal characteristics or status creates a hostile environment and jeopardizes equal educational opportunity as guaranteed by the California Constitution and the United States Constitution.

(d) There is an urgent need to prevent and respond to acts of hate violence and bias-related incidents that are occurring at an increasing rate in California’s public schools.

(e) There is an urgent need to teach and inform pupils in the public schools about their rights, as guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions, in order to increase pupils’ awareness and understanding of their rights and the rights of others, with the intention of promoting tolerance and sensitivity in public schools and in society as a means of responding to potential harassment and hate violence.

(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that each public school undertake educational activities to counter discriminatory incidents on school grounds and, within constitutional bounds, to minimize and eliminate a hostile environment on school grounds that impairs the access of pupils to equal educational opportunity.

210. The definitions in this article shall govern the use of the terms defined for purposes of this chapter.

210.2. “Disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code” includes a perception that the person has any of those characteristics or that the person is associated with a person who has, or is perceived to have, any of those characteristics.

210.3. “Educational institution” means a public or private preschool, elementary, or secondary school or institution; the governing board of a school district; or any combination of school districts or counties recognized as the administrative agency for public elementary or secondary schools.

210.7. “Gender” means sex, and includes a person’s gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.

212.6. “Sexual orientation” means heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.

220. No person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic that is contained in the definition of hate crimes set forth in Section 422.55 of the Penal Code in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance or enrolls pupils who receive state student financial aid.

221. This article shall not apply to an educational institution that is controlled by a religious organization if the application would not be consistent with the religious tenets of that organization.

California Schools Hate Violence Reduction Act of 1995

This Act required the State Board of Education, if private funds are available, at the request of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to do the following:

  • Adopt policies and guidelines to prevent and respond to acts of violence;
  • Revise existing state curriculum, frameworks, and guidelines and the moral and civic education curricula to include human relations education;
  • Establish guidelines for use in teacher and administrator in-service training programs: a) to promote an appreciation of diversity; b) to discourage discriminatory attitudes and practices among pupils, teachers, administrators, and counselors; and c) to enable teachers and administrators to prevent and respond to acts of hate violence;
  • Revise guidelines previously adopted by the board to include procedures to prevent and respond to acts of hate violence; and,
  • Encourage teachers to impress upon the minds of pupils the meaning of equality and human dignity and to foster an environment that is free from discriminatory attitudes, practices, events, or activities, in order to prevent acts of hate violence. (Education Code Sections 45, 33032.5 and 44806)

Among the grounds for the suspension or expulsion of a pupil in grades 4-12 is now the commission of acts of hate violence (See Education Code Section 48900.3 and 48915.)

San Francisco School Bullying Attorney

If your child was the victim of school bullying, contact our San Francisco law office to schedule a free evaluation of your case with an experienced California hate crimes lawyer for LGBT students.