De León Wants High Schools to Teach about Sexual Assault and Violence

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,File
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,File

California Senate President Kevin de León joined Women’s Caucus chair Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson to bring a new bill, SB 695, that would require high schools offering health classes to teach students about sexual assault and violence.

De León told the The Sacramento Bee, “The culture of misogyny, the culture of sexual assault, starts way before young men enter a college campus. This is a measure that would go into the high schools and deal with this issue.”

De León’s staff estimated 87% of California’s 1,507 high schools require students to attend a health class or physical education if they want to graduate. California requires high schools teaching health curriculum to “recognize potentially harmful or abusive relationships, including dangerous dating situations.” It also requires that they “describe California laws regarding bullying, sexual violence, and sexual harassment” and “use effective communication skills for preventing and reporting sexual assault and molestation.”

De León said he wants to confront the misogynistic force in pop culture, asserting:

I’d like to decrease the amount of misogyny that’s taking place. We’ve created a culture that’s become so normalized, that’s so anti-young woman. It has gotten to the point where young men are going to have to stand up. … They can’t remain voiceless on this issue, and it’s going to have to start in high school.

De León has never been married, but he has a daughter who is a college sophomore at St. Mary’s College in Moraga.