California’s K–12 schools will be required to provide students with access to gender-neutral restrooms during school hours, due to a state bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this week.
Senate Bill 760, introduced in February by State Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), mandates that all schools should have at least one single-use gender-neutral restroom—but allows them to keep traditional gender-segregated bathrooms as well.
The bill is one of several Mr. Newsom signed on Sept. 23 aimed at expanding protections for the state’s LGBT population.
“California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBT community, and we’re committed to the ongoing work to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all Californians,” Mr. Newsom said.
“These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities.”
Now all schools will need to incorporate such bathrooms on campus from 2025 to 2026.
When he introduced the bill in February, Mr. Newman said the bill aims to keep students who identify as transgender and non-binary “safe.”
“[Senate Bill] 760 is a measure that aims to create a safe and inclusive environment not only for non-binary students but to all students by requiring each public school to establish at least one all-gender restroom,” Mr. Newman said in a February statement.
The governor also said the idea for the bill originated in 2021 after the Chino Valley Unified School District introduced a now-failed resolution that would have banned non-binary and transgender students from using restrooms corresponding with their preferred gender.
In response to the resolution, Mr. Newman and State Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond launched the Safe School Bathrooms Ad Hoc Committee, which participated in the creation of the bill.
Chino Valley Unified Trustee James Na introduced that district’s resolution in November 2021 after a sexual assault incident by a male student in a public high school restroom took place. He said that the assault did not take place in Chino Valley Unified, but did not specify in which district it occurred.
Such was introduced “in order to protect the safety of female students,” according to the resolution.
Chino Valley Unified received statewide attention again this summer for passing a notification policy that will require schools to alert parents if their child identifies as transgender.
Last month, state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a lawsuit against the district and earlier this month, a California judge issued a temporary restraining order to block Chino Valley’s policy from taking effect at Mr. Bonta’s request.