Portantino School Employee Protection Bill Passes Senate Floor

Thursday, May 25 2023

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2023

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Portantino School Employee Protection Bill Passes Senate Floor

Sacramento, California – Senate Bill 596, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), passed the Senate Floor. SB 596 addresses the issue of school employees facing harassment and threats for doing their jobs. It aims to provide a safe and inclusive environment for communities by providing educators and staff safe, off campus, everyday life.

“No one should be threatened or harassed for providing academic instruction in accordance with California state law,” stated Senator Portantino. “It’s a very sad and concerning situation that some folks feel it appropriate to harass and intimidate people for simply doing their job under the law.  SB 596 seeks to ensure that educators can safely be on their own time while in public.  It’s important to also be clear, that this bill does not infringe or affect a parents ability to interact with their school district or advocate on behalf of their children. It’s also saddens me that some people are erroneously alarming school parents for a divisive purpose.”

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 protects employees in the same manner and courtesy everyone would expect for a hardworking family member. 

“We would like to thank the parents, guardians, students, community members, administrators and staff in our district and across the state who have supported our efforts with SB 596,” stated Gagik Galfayan and Patrick Davarhanian, teachers from the Glendale Unified School District. “At a time when threats of violence and hatred are at an all time high, we are truly grateful and appreciative to receive overwhelming support and love from our community. With your letters of support, words of advice and consideration of our students and staff, you have demonstrated that civil discourse and respect for quality public education is essential.”