Portantino’s School Employee Protection Bill Passes Assembly Public Safety Committee

Tuesday, July 11 2023

For Immediate Release: July 11, 2023

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400

Portantino’s School Employee Protection Bill Passes Assembly Public Safety Committee

Sacramento, California – Senate Bill 596, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee today. 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 is 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 simply protects employees in the same manner and courtesy everyone would expect for a hardworking family member. It saddens me that we would need a bill to encourage civil discourse but given the level of vitriol and threats in our society today, we do. My hope is that SB 596 reminds people that passionate advocates don’t need to resort to threats and harrasement to be effective.”

SB 596 would make it a misdemeanor to subject a school employee to credible threats or harassment for reasons related to their official duties while they are away from a school site or after school hours. The measure does not infringe on free speech or stifle parental involvement in public education.

“We are happy to see that SB 596 has passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee and is one step closer to the Governor’s desk,” 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 Senator Portantino for his leadership and to our community for their overwhelming support and love. 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.”