California is a state apart from all others when it comes to its general sociopolitical environment. The Golden State prides itself on respect for all people and the honor of personal freedoms. In spite of this, bullying remains a growing issue in California. While it is certainly not the only state struggling with this problem, some might argue it is one of the most surprising on the list of those that are.
CNN estimates that 7 in 50 students experience bullying in California. Of these students, 6% experience bullying based on their perceived or actual immigration status, while 7% face bullying because of their religion. The effects of bullying were also far-reaching. Teenagers were more likely to smoke and drink when they were bullied on account of their nationality, race or ethnicity. Discrimination on a whole correlates with higher substance abuse rates.
CBS reports that California responded to the growing problem by signing new laws into place. The Safe Place to Learn Act addresses the fact that suicide is happening at much younger rates than before. Children as young as in kindergarten can now get access to materials aimed at suicide prevention. This helps to tackle the problem in its earliest possible stages.
The second law will use taxpayer dollars to fund crisis centers. More specifically, taxpayer contributions go toward a special suicide prevention fund. Centers that are active members of the national suicide prevention hotline can then access these funds to help them better serve teens in their communities.
Finally, the education code received a meaningful amendment. It updated a policy that provides high-risk students with suicide prevention services. Some of the students considered high risk include LGBTQs, disabled children and those who might be homeless.