On Wednesday, the Governor signed AB 827 by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell into law, to provide greater support for LGBTQ students by requiring schools to provide teachers with information on related school site and community resources available to their students.
“My experience as a classroom teacher has taught me one of the most important keys to academic success is a safe and inclusive learning environment,” said O’Donnell, who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, in a statement. “With the passage of AB 827, we will ensure our LGBTQ students have access to community resources and teachers are able to foster supportive learning environments, improve academic achievement and make our schools safer.”
Despite recent progress, LGBTQ students still face harassment, according to the release. Executive Director of Equality California Rick Zbur said students need a supportive environment before they can learn and teachers play a major role in creating this necessary safe space to thrive.
“Research shows that LGBT kids with supportive educators feel safer at school, skip fewer classes and get better grades,” he said in a statement. “This legislation will give teachers the resources they need to help.”
AB 827 will take effect January 1, 2016, while the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach have already taken incredible strides toward this goal. The Center has played an active role in training a number of LBUSD’s teachers on issues that pertain to LGBTQ youth, says Chris Eftychiou, LBUSD spokesman, while The Center has also led the effort by creating The Transgender Guidebook that is used as a training tool for staff.
“We’ll carefully review the final version of the legislation to see if we need to make any adjustments,” Eftychiou told the Post.
“The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach enthusiastically supported the passage of AB 827 as we know this legislation will create more inclusive and supportive learning environments for all students,” said Executive Director for The Center, Porter Gilberg. “We are incredibly fortunate to have an incredibly affirming partnership with the Long Beach Unified School districts and have worked together to train hundreds of educators, administrators, and principals on best practices for nurturing LGBTQ students in the district.”
The Center remains committed to working with the district, the city’s youth and the greater community to create a better Long Beach for everyone, LGBTQ and allied alike, Gilberg added.