California Department of Education
California Department of Education
Joint release with CDE and LACOE: #23-18
March 16, 2023
State Department of Education in partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to develop an online LGBTQ+ cultural competency course
SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Education (CDE) today announced a new partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to provide resources to enhance support for LGBTQ+ youth in California.
In 2019, state Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond and the California Equity Institute sponsored Assembly Bill (AB) 493, known as the Safe and Supportive Schools Act. This bill, written by then Assemblyman Todd Gloria (now Mayor of San Diego), encourages educators to receive training on available school and community resources to support LGBTQ+ students who face bullying, harassment, discrimination, or lack of acceptance at home or school.
“Many LGBTQ+ students have failed — for far too long — to report issues of harassment and violence. This is unacceptable; it is imperative that we create the same opportunities for a quality public education in an environment that accepts all students as they are,” Thurmond said. Los Angeles County Office of Education to lead exercises that will provide our educators with the critical resources they need to help LGBTQ+ students in California.”
Since the adoption of AB 493 in 2019, the climate has only worsened for LGBTQ+ students, making these tools for educators even more important. According to the GLSEN National School Climate Survey 2019
(pdf)More than 86 percent of LGBTQ+ students have experienced harassment or assault based on personal characteristics (such as sexual orientation, gender expression, perceived religion, race, ethnicity, or actual or perceived disability), and nearly one-fifth of LGBTQ+ students reported changing schools because of To feel insecure or uncomfortable at school. In February 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its findings 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey , which showed high levels of violence, depression, and suicidal thoughts among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. According to the results, more than one in five of these students reported attempting suicide in the year prior to the survey. At least 52 percent of teens who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual or who are questioned said they struggle with mental health.
In this urgent context, CDE has selected LACOE as the prime contractor to develop online training courses for educators across California. LACOE is collaborating with lead partner agency the Equality California Institute and an advisory panel of 20 nonprofit organizations, including The Trevor Project and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, to develop the project called PRISM: Providing Appropriate and Inclusive Support that Matters to LGBTQ+ Students.
“If we want students to have a quality education, we have to do everything we can to ensure a positive school climate,” said Dr. Debra Duardo, L.A. County Superintendent of Schools. “LGBTQ+ students face unique challenges, and it is essential to implement social and emotional support that promotes healthy development so that they can reach their full potential.”
“California continues to lead the mission in ensuring a positive school climate for all students by launching this first-of-its-kind online training program on LGBTQ+ topics for K-12 teachers,” said Tony Huang, Executive Director of the Equality California Institute. “This is another step forward in California’s support for educators who serve and support LGBTQ+ youth, and the Equality California Institute is proud to be a part of this initiative.”
The training will include topics such as:
- Identifying LGBTQ+ youth who are or may be at risk of bullying and lack of acceptance in the home or in their communities
- Identify local community organizations that provide support to LGBTQ+ youth
- Provide information regarding the school’s anti-bullying and harassment policies and complaint procedures
- Identify local physical and mental health providers with experience in treating and supporting LGBTQ+ youth and form peer support or related clubs and organizations
Inclusive LGBTQ+ education benefits the health and well-being of all students, and Project PRISM promotes acceptance and fosters a positive school environment for LGBTQ+ students. The PRISM project is expected to be completed in June 2024.
About the Los Angeles County Office of Education
The Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), headquartered in Downey, is the nation’s largest regional education agency and provides a range of services and programs to support the district’s 80 school districts and nearly two million preschool and school-age children. To learn more about LACOE, visit County homepage
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Tony Thurmond – State Superintendent of Public Education
Communications Department, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100
Last revised: Friday, March 17, 2023