RNA - SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill authored by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria), designed to address potential bullying, harassment, and intimidation of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian students.
AB 2845 requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to assess whether local educational agencies have provided information to certificated staff serving grades 7-12 on school site and community resources for students who are subject to discrimination and bullying based on actual or perceived religious affiliation.
The bill also requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to post anti-bullying resources related to affiliation or perceived affiliation with any religious groups, including Muslim, on its website. Members of Williams’ Capitol staff and organizations in support of the bill held a press conference Tuesday in Sacramento celebrate the bill’s signing.
“Unfortunately, discrimination, whether intentional or not, exists in our schools and this bill aims to help educate staff on how to develop an awareness and prevent harassment,” said Assemblymember Williams. “These are already difficulty and challenging years for students. We need to show that our schools have no room for discrimination or bullying.”
According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter (CAIR-CA), 55 percent of American-Muslim students attending California public schools surveyed experience some form of bullying based on their religious identity.
This is twice as high as the national statistic for students who report being bullied at school. CAIR-CAalso finds that American Muslim youth continue to identify student-teacher relations as needing improvement in addressing such bullying. Similarly, the Sikh Coalition has reported that 50 percent of Sikh students have encountered school bullying. This number increases significantly for turbaned Sikh students, 67 percent of whom have encountered bullying.