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Governor Newsom Signs Assemblymember Zbur's Safe & Supportive Schools Act

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA — Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood) announced today that Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 5 – the Safe & Supportive Schools Act – into law. This bill aims to foster safe and supportive school environments where LGBTQ+ and all students can flourish and succeed.

"The Safe and Supportive Schools Act is such a critical piece of legislation in the fight against hatred," said Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur. "Children deserve to feel safe and welcome in their own schools, and teachers and staff play a crucial role in shaping our children's futures. I did not have the opportunity as a child or young man to see representation around me. That is why I have always fought for a kinder and more compassionate world for LGBTQ+ and all people. AB 5 is the product of nearly a decade of advocacy that reflects the fact that LGBTQ+ students face higher dropout rates, rates of homelessness, and suicidal ideation, and we know that if a student is facing bullying in school, hostility in their community, or lack of a supportive home environment, the person they're most likely to turn to is a school teacher or school counselor. This bill aims at helping these vulnerable students by giving teachers and school staff the tools and training they need to give these kids a shot at success. I'm grateful for our teachers and school staff who worked with us to put our kids first."

The Safe and Supportive Schools Act is designed to equip educators to effectively cultivate inclusive classroom atmospheres and address the specific challenges encountered by LGBTQ+ and all students. Despite notable advancements, LGBTQ+ students still frequently encounter harassment, violence, and a lack of affirmation within educational settings. This contributes to higher rates of poverty, homelessness, depression, and engagement with the criminal justice system for LGBTQ+ people. Alternatively, LGBTQ+ students with access to inclusive environments and supportive teachers are less likely to miss school and more likely to feel a greater sense of belonging, perform better academically, and pursue post-secondary education.

Assemblymember Zbur would like to give special thanks to cosponsors Equality California, CFT, the California Teachers Association (CTA), and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who have been crucial partners in advancing this bill.

"With LGBTQ+ students under attack nationwide, it's important that here in California, we do everything we can to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect," said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. "AB 5, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, will do so by setting a timeline for teachers and certificated staff to receive LGBTQ+ cultural competency training — better preparing them to support their LGBTQ+ students. We were proud to partner with Assemblymember Zbur, our former Executive Director, on such timely and important legislation, and are thankful that Governor Newsom agrees with the need to implement this initiative for the long term benefit of LGBTQ+ youth in California schools."

"AB 5 is a pivotal milestone in creating safe and inclusive learning environments for all students," said CFT President Jeff Freitas. "It is with pride and is an honor to work alongside Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur to secure Governor Newsom's signature on this legislation. This crucial measure ensures that educators receive the necessary training to support LGBTQ+ students effectively. It's a significant stride towards realizing our vision of a high quality education for all students."

"This is a great day for public education! The Safe & Supportive Schools Act will bring opportunities to expand our LGBTQ+ cultural competency with annual training for educators across California, a strong step forward for our schools and communities," said CTA President David Goldberg. "Our LGBTQ+ students and families bravely called on their elected leaders to address harassment and the lack of affirmation students feel in some school settings. We're proud to have worked with Assemblymember Zbur on the Safe & Supportive Schools Act and applaud Governor Newsom for signing it into law. With his signature, vital resources are now on the way to local school districts to help improve the educational experience for LGBTQ+ students and the entire school community. We are always committed to safe learning environments for our students."

"Schools play a critical role in supporting students' emotional well-being. Research shows that when LGBTQ+ students feel safe and supported for who they are in school, they are better able to focus on their studies and thrive academically and socially," said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. "I am proud that AB 5 has been signed into law by Governor Newsom. This monumental bill fosters safe and supportive schools for all students by providing critical training to all educators to help to close the disparities in health, mental health and academic outcomes for our LGBTQ+ students."

Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur serves as the Democratic Caucus Chair for the California State Assembly and represents the 51st Assembly District, including Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Santa Monica, and portions of Los Angeles.

CONTACT: Vienna Montague, (916) 319-2051,