A school bus adorned with rainbow colors is the YMCA entry to the 2023 LA Pride Parade in Hollywood, Calif., on June 11, 2023. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
California teachers will be required to undergo online training to help support LGBT students by the 2025–26 school year, due to a new bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 23.
California Assembly Bill 5, introduced by Assemblyman Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Los Angeles), requires the state Department of Education to finalize the development of such “LGBT cultural competency training” for teachers before the start of the 2025–26 school year.
The bill requires seventh- to 12th-grade teachers to undergo at least one hour of online training per year, according to the bill’s text.
The curriculum includes training on the creation of “safe and supportive learning environments” for LGBT pupils—including those with multiple intersecting identities, such as “those who are members of the LGBT community, members of communities of color, immigrants, or people living with the human immunodeficiency virus,” according to an analysis of the bill by the Senate Education Committee.
The training will also help teachers identify LGBT youth who may be at risk of bullying and lack of acceptance at home or in their communities and will offer how to proceed in such situations—often by referring students to the school counselor.
Mr. Newsom touted the bill—along with several others promoting the LGBT community he recently signed—saying that “California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBT community.”
“These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities,” Mr. Newsom said in a statement, also on Sept. 23.
Mr. Zbur said he introduced the bill because LGBT students “still experience harassment, violence, and lack of affirmation in school settings far too often.”
“These experiences can harm LGBT students’ school performance and success, self-esteem, and mental health and can reduce their desire to pursue post-secondary education,” he said in a March statement. “Lack of adequate support in schools results in high dropout rates, which leads to high rates of poverty, homelessness and engagement with the criminal justice system for LGBTQ+ people. [The bill] will provide public school teachers and staff, who are on the front lines of supporting California students, with the training and support they need to better serve LGBT and all students.”
Several individuals in opposition to the bill argued that schools should allow teachers to focus, instead, on core subject curriculum training, according to an Assembly Education Committee analysis.