(SANTA CLARA, CA, 8/24/2016) - The California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) and its coalition partners today welcomed the passing of AB 2845, the Safe Place to Learn Act.
AB 2845 was taken up for Assembly concurrence and passed with a 65-0 vote.
Authored by Assemblymember Das Williams, this bill works to address the growing problem of bullying and discrimination based on religious affiliation or perceived religious affiliation. AB 2845 will provide certificated staff at local education agencies with 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 to post anti-bullying resources related to affiliation or perceived affiliation with any religious group on its website.
According to CAIR-CA, 55% 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.
"Our schools should be able to provide our children education in an environment that is free from identity based blame and bullying," says Sameena Usman, CAIR-SFBA Government Relations Coordinator.
Similarly, the Sikh Coalition has reported that 50% of Sikh students have encountered school bullying. This number increases significantly for turbaned Sikh students, 67% of whom have encountered bullying. In Fresno, 51% of the students surveyed by the Sikh Coalition reported that they felt school officials did not respond adequately to bullying incidents.
"The right to attend public school free from bullying and discrimination is a civil right. AB 2845 will help ensure that no child has to compromise their faith or identity in California schools," said Harjit Kaur, Community Development Manager for the Sikh Coalition.
"Our coalition is pleased to see such strong bi-partisan support in the California State Legislature for legislation aimed at addressing Islamophobia in our education system," stated Andrew Medina, California Policy Manager for Asian Americans Advancing Justice - California.
The bill will be sent to the office of Governor Jerry Brown, who will have until September 30th to sign it into law.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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