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New bill that supports LGBT schoolchildren moves through commitee

LOS ANGELES, California - Assemblymemeber Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) has authored a bill that will bring more support to the classroom for LGBT students. AB 827 would make it mandatory for educators to receive training and resources annually to assist LGBT youth in California schools and communities.

In an effort to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in their academic environment, the bill serves to not only educate those that are unfamiliar with how to address LGBT issues, but also gives inclusion to those students who are seeking help from their academic leaders.

With teachers and students seriously lacking the right way to address LGBT people, the bill would remove the social stigma of feeling different, by bringing the issues to the campus and the playground, rather than being silent due to lack of information.

Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, which sponsored the bill says, if passed children and adults will be able to understand and address LGBT youth with confidence, “LGBT students have a higher dropout rate than their straight peers and are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Assemblymember O’Donnell’s bill provides teachers and school administrators access to information that supports LGBT youth inside and outside the classroom,” Zbur said.

The bill would give power to the teachers and administrators of which they can use to enforce a better educational environment for all of their students from within their ranks, welcoming any questions about the subject and holding them accountable, “This bill provides teachers with the information needed to better support LGBTQ students, creating a safer school environment that all students deserve.” O’Donnell said.

Fair Share for Equality, California’s premiere statewide LGBT civil rights organization has released a report that puts California behind several other states, including New York, on collecting the data about the LGBT community and the problematic distinctions therein.

Fair Share Equality reports that LGBT youth are at a higher risk of ostracization, drug abuse, bullying and family rejection. The report also states that LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight children and 40 percent of transgender youth have made an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

“Teachers have the power to build an educational environment that is truly welcoming to all students,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell.

AB 827 will head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee where the legislation's fiscal impact will be analyzed.