Senate Bill 596, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), passed the Senate Public Safety Committee. SB 596 addresses the issue of school employees facing harassment and aims to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students and educators.
“Too many school employees are being intimidated and harassed for doing their jobs,” stated Senator Portantino. “Educators should not be threatened or harassed for providing academic instruction in accordance with California state standards. SB 596 will ensure that educators can safely continue to be educators and help their students thrive.”
Last year, a local elementary school employee was transferred to a different school site due to safety concerns after receiving threats for talking to students about LGBTQ Pride Month. Incidents of harassment occur not only at school sites but also in off-campus settings and on social media platforms..
SB 596 would make it a misdemeanor to subject a school employee to threats or harassment for reasons related to their official duties while they are away from a school site or after school hours. It does not infringe on free speech or stifle parental involvement in public education. It just protects employees in the same manner and courtesy everyone would expect for a hardworking family member.
“Educators have worked tirelessly to accommodate the unique needs of all of their students. Educators are committed to creating a welcoming space for their students and teaching accurate, inclusive history. In attempting to teach state standards, we are receiving threats and harassment. As of today, both of the teachers who assisted with this bill have received death threats. We fear that if our community does not take a strong stance against threats and harassment targeting teachers, our profession will be in jeopardy,” stated Gagik Galfayan and Patrick Davarhanian, teachers from the Glendale Unified School District