Victims of anti-gay bullying have a new law on their side to protect them from discrimination and harassment in our schools.
Unfortunately, it took the suicide of 13-year-old Seth Walsh to make it happen.
California’s “Seth’s Law,” which into effect on Sunday, is named for the 13-year-old who took his own life in 2010 as a result of homophobic harassment. The law requires California schools to establish anti-discrimination policies that come down hard on negativity towards ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
KCBS reports that though many school districts had already began putting these policies to work last September, the law is now in effect statewide.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) produced the legislation “to reduce suicides by gay teens,” as was the case with Tehachapi’s Seth Walsh, the law’s namesake.
Ammiano told KCBS that Wendy Walsh, Seth’s mother, went to school officials to address the bullying of her son:
“In Seth’s case, his mother actually went to the school authorities and they did not act in a way that would have helped save Seth.”
Seth’s law requires schools to establish timelines when addressing reports of bullying. Ammiano’s hope is that putting a stricter timeline on bullying claims will help lower the number of teen suicides, particularly in gay teens.