Lt. Governor Newsom outlines zero-tolerance plan of action to counter spike in racism and bullying at California schools

Newsom extends drive to protect California students at every level in wake of presidential campaign


SAN FRANCISCO - California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom today called on the state's county superintendents of education to act immediately and counter the uptick in racism, hate and bullying reported in California and nationwide, in the wake of the presidential campaign. Joined by school leaders at Burton High School earlier in San Francisco, Lt. Governor Newsom led a conversation with students charting their experiences and the actions needed to prevent the tide of divisive behavior from becoming normalized.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has now collected more than 700 allegations of election-related intimidation and harassment nationwide between November 9 and November 16, with nearly forty-percent of all incidences occurring in educational settings at K-12 schools, universities and colleges. There were more reported incidences in California - more than eighty - than any other state, including the widely reported racist graffiti in a bathroom at a high school in Danville, CA.

In a letter to all fifty-eight county superintendents of education, Lt. Governor Newsom called for a "moral wall" and wrote, "My wife and I struggled with how to explain the hateful rhetoric spewed during the campaign to our four young children. Like so many parents across the nation, we reinforced the values of empathy, compassion and kindness. Now, more than ever, it is incumbent upon us to translate those values into concrete action to protect California's children. We must establish a zero-tolerance policy for hate in our schools."

With no statewide hotline and a disparate array of resources and plans at a local level, Lt. Governor Newsom requested counties to create a clearinghouse to report incidents of racism and bullying, and to ensure concrete plans are being developed in partnership with teachers and administrators in counties where no such programs are established. The Lt. Governor also reinforced the need to measure school climate as one of the four local indicators within the new school accountability system that replaces the Academic Performance Index.

Last week, Lt. Governor Newsom urged the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges to review protocols that would shield the personal data of undocumented students from potential abuse by the federal government. Today's letter requested counties to extend those reviews into local school districts.

School leaders joining Lt. Governor Newsom today at Burton High School included Interim SFUSD Superintendent Myong Leigh, San Francisco Board of Education commissioners Matt Haney, Shamann Walton, and Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell.

Lt. Governor Newsom's letters to the leaders of the UC, CSU, and Community Colleges are posted here.