ISTRICT POLICIES AND TRAININGS
Research consistently shows that feeling unsafe at school or experiencing harassment at school
is linked to health and behavior risks for youth, as well as poor school performance. Recent
research shows that bias-motivated harassment is all too common in California’s schools. At the
same time, school non-discrimination policies have been shown to promote school safety and
are a key strategy to prevent negative health and academic outcomes for youth.
What is the state of school safety policy in California? We conducted a survey of one-third of
California’s school districts – here is what we learned.
SAFE SCHOOLS RESEARCH BRIEF
The good news
The vast majority of school districts report
that they have non-discrimination policies
that enumerate all of the categories covered
in the state non-discrimination law.
Therefore, the majority of California school
districts report that they protect students
from discrimination and harassment based
on actual or perceived sexual orientation.
A majority of districts include gender as an
Some districts are training staff and addi-
tional districts are willing to do more train-
ing on these issues
The bad news
Implementation of district policies does not
occur in many school districts and when
implementation occurs it is often not thor-
ough or consistent.
While the majority of districts report that
they include the enumerated category of
"gender" in their non-discrimination policies,
these policies lack a definition of gender that
makes clear that transgender and gender
non-conforming students are protected from
Some districts are unaware of the need for
training, while some are unable or unwilling
to address the need to implement non-dis-
crimination and harassment policies.
In the last year, 47% of school districts had notified school site administrators about their district’s non-discrimina-
tion policy through an assembly or training (it is important to note that the content of these trainings or assemblies
is unknown). These results show that many school districts do conduct in-person trainings of faculty: nearly half are
conducting some type of training or assembly to inform school site administrators of the district’s discrimination pol-
icy. At the same time, this means that a majority of school districts are taking a passive approach: the primary form
of notification is through posting a bulletin or including the information in an employee handbook.
While California school districts are making progress by passing inclusive
non-discrimination policies, there are far too many school districts still
NOT in compliance with California law.
• 94% of districts report having a policy specifically prohibiting discrim-
ination based on sexual orientation.
• Only 40% of districts have policies that prevent harassment based on
gender identity, appearance or behavior. This means 60% of school
districts are in direct violation of California law.
POLICIES THAT PREVENT HARASSMENT
BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY,
APPEARANCE OR BEHAVIOR