ACSA supports bill to protect student privacy
Bill would prohibit school boards from adopting ‘forced outing’ policies
July 1, 2024
ACSA’s Board of Directors has voted to formally support new legislation that seeks to uphold student privacy rights amid the introduction of local “forced outing” policies.
At its June meeting, the board voted unanimously to support AB 1955 (Ward), the “Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth (SAFETY)” Act.
Board members cited two critical reasons for supporting the bill. First, it protects student privacy on matters related to self-determined gender identity and sexual orientation. Second, it provides clarity amid contradictory court decisions and guidance from state departments. The conflicting decisions have left school leaders in limbo as they seek to safeguard and assist students while complying with applicable laws. The bill would empower schools to continue their role as safe, trusted spaces for students to learn and grow so they may realize their fullest potential.
Specifically, AB 1955 would prohibit a school governing body from adopting policies that require educators to provide notification of a students’ gender identity or sexual orientation. It also invalidates any existing policies requiring such notifications. The bill would provide protections from retaliation or discipline for educators protecting students’ rights to privacy. Finally, it directs the state Department of Education to provide school-based and community resources for parents and family members of students who may identify, or may be considering identifying, as LGBTQ+.
The board action was taken following a recommendation from the ACSA Legislative Policy Committee.
This position builds upon the ACSA One Voice for Students Platform, adopted for the 2023-24 legislative sessions, which affirms that ACSA is unwavering in its commitment to supporting policies that advance equity, diversity, belonging and inclusion. This includes advancing policies that protect LGBTQ+ individuals and prohibit discrimination.
AB 1955 is sponsored by the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, which introduced the legislation in May after an extensive review and drafting period that began in fall of 2023. It is now being fast-tracked through the Senate and Assembly policy and fiscal committees to ensure a full vetting before potentially reaching Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.