Senator Hurtado introduces Yahushua’s Law to protect students from extreme weather exposure

BAKERSFIELD, CA – Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) recently introduced legislation to protect students from extreme weather exposure by requiring the California Department of Education to develop guidelines for school districts to implement during weather patterns harmful to student health. The bill, Senate Bill 1248 or Yahushua’s Law, responds to an extreme heat related fatality during the 2023 summer when a Lake Elsinore student participating in physical education suffered extreme heat related illness that ultimately cost him his life, despite weather warnings and health studies data indicating children’s health sensitivity to extreme weather.

“No student should ever lose their life on campus to extreme weather when we can take steps to protect them by preparing statewide plans to minimize exposure to the most harmful elements of exposure,” said Senator Melissa Hurtado. “I commend the family of Yahushua Robinson, the twelve year student who lost his life due to heat related illness during on-campus physical education, for lending their emotional strength and compassion for others in order to help ensure that no other student loses their life this way.”

“I am proud to co-author SB 1248 and want to thank Senator Hurtado for introducing this important legislation, protecting children at school from extreme weather conditions,” said Assembly Dr. Akilah Weber, M.D. “The story of Yahushua Robinson last year was heartbreaking. We have protections for farm workers and other industries in the case of extreme weather, now climate change is forcing us to also extend similar protections to students at school.”   

“Yahushua's Law is reflective of the memory of Yahushua Robinson, a 12-year-old known for his inspiring phrase "I AM HIM" and his ability to unite people,” said Christina Laster, a Robinson Family Representative and Advocate. “The law reflects his spirit by requiring schools to implement preventive systems and stop outdoor activities during environmental hazards. This law symbolizes a commitment to child safety and the embodiment of Yahushua's values in recognizing our shared humanity within every student. It is an actionable promise to prioritize student well-being, honor the life of Yahushua, and prevent future tragedies.”

Studies by the National Institute of Health and by the World Health Organization consistently show that climate change affects human health, specifically children’s health, leading to increased respiratory problems and the risk of various diseases. However, the lack of uniform guidelines and protocols across schools and school districts in California exacerbates this issue, creating an urgent need for safeguards to ensure student safety during extreme weather conditions.