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Audit of California public schools will investigate anti-bullying law implementation

3:19 PM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - High school senior Calen Valencia knows all too well what bullying is like.

"I was pushed around physically and I was called a lot of slur names," Valencia recalled.

Despite years of tough anti-bullying laws in California, some in place for more than a decade, he feels schools are doing a poor job of helping students like him.

"Teachers never really stepped in ... and didn't know how to handle the situation," Valencia said.

The Joint Legislative Audit is finally doing something about it.

Assem. Ricardo Lara has gotten approval for an audit of every public school and local education agency in the state to examine whether anti-bullying and harassment laws have been implemented.

A California Healthy Kids Survey in 2000 found that every year more than 200,000 kids a year are harassed because they were gay or someone thought they were gay.

Lara points to the recent shooting death of 15-year-old Lawrence King in Oxnard and the suicide of 13-year-old Seth Walsh of Tehapchapi as examples of how there might be some gaps.

"One student being bullied or harassed is too many," Lara said. "We've seen our students either commit suicide or murdered. And we need to do everything we can to save every life."

Opponents said Democrats shouldn't make state government interfere with local issues.

"They want to control bullies, which really isn't under the preview of the government. That's really a parent's responsibility," Assm. Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said. "Why don't they do an audit on why the education system is failing?"

But an audit is important to Calen.

"Yeah, a lot of schools don't really implement them at all," Valencia said. "I didn't find out about these laws until this year in April."

The audit is expected to take nine months.

By Nannette Miranda
ABC7

ABC7/KGO

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