On January 1, 2000 the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 went into effect. The law prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender in educational institutions statewide. This law, which amended the California Education Code, applies to any educational institution (kindergarten through university) that receives state financial assistance or whose students benefit from state financial aid. All persons in schools, whether students or employees, are protected under the Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act.

The Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act expanded the group of persons protected in schools by amending the Education Code to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, whether actual or perceived, and gender, which is defined broadly to include gender identity, appearance and behavior. This law protects students and employees who are or are perceived to be gay, lesbian, and bisexual. It also protects students and employees who are transgender, and those whose appearance or behavior doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes.

The Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act as a whole comes from several different statutes and regulations; we have included all the relevant provisions on this page.

Prohibition of Discrimination (California Education Code Section 220)
No person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, national origin, religion, color, mental or physical disability, or any basis that is contained in the prohibition of hate crimes set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 422.6 of the Penal Code [see below] 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.

Protected Categories (California Penal Code Section 422.6(a))
No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States because of the other person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender [see below], or sexual orientation, or because he or she perceives that the other person has one or more of those characteristics.

Definition of Gender (California Penal Code Section 422.56(c))
“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. (This revised definition took effect Jan. 1, 2005. It was amended when SB 1234, the Hate Crimes Omnibus Bill was signed by the Governor in 2004.)

Regulatory Clarification of “Gender” (California Code of Regulations, Title 5, § 910(k))
“Gender” means a person’s actual sex or perceived sex, and includes a person’s perceived identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with a person’s sex at birth.