California lawmakers today approved a request for a state audit on how schools implement anti-bullying and harassment laws after recent incidents in which students were targeted for their sexual orientation.
Democratic state Assembly members Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens and Betsy Butler of Los Angeles jointly made the request at today's Joint Legislative Audit Committee meeting. It was approved by a 9 to 4 vote, said Julia Svetlana Juarez, a spokeswoman for Lara.
“It’s devastating for a child to feel unsafe in an environment where they are supposed to feel protected," Lara said in a statement. "This audit will help identify gaps in compliance and provide solid recommendations for improvement."
More than 200,000 students in California are harassed each year because they are gay, lesbian or someone thought they were, according to a California Healthy Kids Survey in 2000. These incidents occur despite laws that aim to combat such behavior and improve student safety.