LGBTQQ Resources and Information

The Superintendent’s Policy Statement on LGBTQQ Youth and Their Safety in School

 

Dear Santa Cruz City Schools Community,

The District, and I as the superintendent, has an affirmative obligation under California and federal law to provide a safe (free from harassment and discrimination) educational environment for its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) students and staff. An essential part of that obligation includes advocating acceptance and respect for LGBTQQ students and staff, even though discussion of LGBTQQ issues may be considered by a few to be "controversial."

This includes the fact that school administrators have an affirmative duty to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender LGBTQQ students and those perceived to be LGBTQQ from verbal and physical abuse from their peers.  California Education Code §§ 200, 201, and 220, in particular, place upon the District the affirmative obligation to combat racism, sexism, and other forms of bias, including sexual orientation and gender identity bias, within its schools.  Similarly, both the state and federal constitution guarantee the District's students and staff equal protection under the law. 

Please note that our school district is obligated to enforce AB 537: Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act.  Further, it is Santa Cruz City School Board policy (BP 5145.3) to specifically protect our LGBTQQ students, providing them with a safe place to learn.

It is also the school district’s responsibility to protect a teacher's or a student's constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and speech. California, in particular, has a strong public policy in favor of free speech on school campuses as evidenced by Education Code § 48907.

It will be our continued firm commitment to protect the safety of all students on all of our campuses.

 

Our AB 537 Compliant Officer is: Eileen Brown, Director of Student Services who can be reached at 831 429-3410 x215.

Sincerely,
Kris Munro
Superintendent

Protection for LGBTQQ Youth

The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 protects LGBTQQ youth from harassment and discrimination. You have rights!

 What is AB 537?

AB 537, the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, changed California's Education Code by adding actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing nondiscrimination policy. State law says that “‘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.” The nondiscrimination policy also prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability.

 What does AB 537 cover?

AB 537 protects students and school employees against discrimination and harassment at all California public schools and any school receiving state funding except religious schools. Harassment is defined as “conduct based on protected status that is severe or pervasive, which unreasonably disrupts an individual’s educational or work environment or that creates a hostile educational or work environment.” The protections cover any program or activity in a school, including extracurricular activities and student clubs. This gives GSAs/QSAs and other LGBTQQ-related student clubs state protection in addition to federal protection through the Equal Access Act.

 

How do you file a complaint?

If you believe you have been discriminated against due to your LGBTQQ status, gender identity or perceived gender identity, first contact your principal. Your principal is obligated to investigate your complaint. Let your principal know if you want to file an official complaint or you just want to express a concern. If you wish to file an official complaint, tell you principal you wish to file a UCP complaint. UCP means universal complaint procedure. A UCP official investigation will be conducted and concluded within 60 days. You will receive written results of the investigation including what if any action was taken to prevent continued harassment or discrimination. You are protected from retaliation by the UCP Board Policy and California and Federal law.

 

What is your school district obligated to do?

If your school does not adequately address your complaint, you can take your complaint to the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services at the District Office (ask for the designated complaint officer or compliance coordinator). Your school district must follow the state’s “Uniform Complaint Procedures,” which say that your school district must to do the following:

• Have a staff member who is responsible for receiving and investigating complaints who is knowledgeable about the law.

• Every year, notify parents, employees, students, and anyone interested of the district

complaint procedures, including the right to appeal the school district’s decision to the California Department of Education.

• Protect you from retaliation after you make a complaint.

• Keep your complaint confidential as appropriate.

• Accept complaints from any youth, adult, public agency, or organization.

Transgender Students Policy and Procedures


Transgender Students Roster Name Change

 

QSA/GSA/ Rainbow Alliance


The SCCS works actively to support the QSA/GSA/Rainbow Alliance at each of our secondary schools. We partner with the Diversity Center to bring opportunities and supports to our LGBTQQ students and their allies. Please contact the school directly for information on meeting times. The school principal or counselor can assist you. 

 

 

 



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