A California law requiring school districts to update their anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies has been seemingly ignored by five Long Beach area school districts, according to a Long Beach Press-Telegram investigation.
AB 9, otherwise known as “Seth’s Law,” mandates that districts implement updated anti-discrimination policies to include actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, in addition to race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability and religion. It also requires districts to notify students and parents of their rights and how to advocate for them.
The bill was signed in October by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and is named after Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old junior high student who committed suicide in September 2010 after being subject to constant harassment at school for being gay. A federal investigation determined that school officials had ignored the bullying.
The legislation required districts to update their policies by July 1. But according to thePress-Telegram, officials at Downey, Paramount and Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School Districts claimed they were unaware of AB 9’s mandate to update their bullying and harassment policies. Bellflower Unified School District’s superintendent declined to comment about the matter, while Long Beach Unified School District updated its policies to comply with the law on July 3, and has led the way in addressing anti-gay behavior via its district-wide Project 10 program.