Bill to include charter schools in Calif. student free expression law passes State Senate

CALIFORNIA — The California State Senate unanimously passed a billMonday that extends the rights of student free expression to charter schoolstudents, confirmed Adam Keigwin, chief of staff for Sen. Leland Yee, D-SanFrancisco/San Mateo.

The unanimous vote “speaks volumes for this issue,” Keigwinsaid.

The bill will now go to the State Assembly where Keigwin said it willlikely reach a vote by March in either the education committee of the judiciarycommittee.

Keigwin said a similar outcome is anticipated in the assembly, since theoriginal student speech bill passed and this is simply a “restating”of that bill “clearing up any ambiguity.”

The bill, introduced by Yee, amends California Education Code Section 48907– the state’s student free expression code — to read “pupils of the publicschools, including charter schools, shall have the right to exercise freedom ofspeech and of the press …”

This will also amend California Education Code Section 48950, also known asthe “Leonard Law,” which protects any student action on a public orprivate campus that would be protected off campus by a student’s firstamendment rights. Given the passage of the original bill, Keigwin saysit would be strange for this update not to pass, citing that it would be odd if”it’s good enough for public school students. It’s good enoughfor private school students. But somehow charter school students don’tdeserve the same rights.”

Assuming that the bill passes through the assembly, Keigwin said Sen. Yeehopes it will make it to the governor’s desk by this summer.