January 04, 2015
My name is Carly, I'm a student ambassador for GLSEN, and an 8th grader in Arizona.
Since my mom is an ally, I've been an ally for basically as long as I can remember. In fact, I don't think I could imagine that not being a part of my life. And for as long as I've been an ally, the question I've been asked the most has always been “Why?” “Why do you care so much about gay people if you're straight yourself?”
Well, there are several answers to that question. First of all, I believe a lack of acceptance and an attitude of intolerance is one of the biggest issues our society faces, and one that has been the root cause of some of the most tragic events in history. In this case, anti-LGBT bullying, homophobia, and heterosexism in schools have caused tragedies. It has caused the tragedy of talented, bright kids not achieving the success they could be in school or even dropping out because they are too afraid of being harassed to focus on academic success. It has caused hundreds of teens to suffer from anxiety or depression every year. In short, anti-LGBT bullying is a common and extremely serious problem. And I don't want to just sit by and watch it wreck a ton of amazing young people's lives. That's probably the biggest part of why I'm an ally—I think it's just the right thing to do.
Besides that, I strongly believe that anti-LGBT bullying does not only negatively impact the LGBT community, but also an environment in which no once can feel comfortable being who they are and expressing themselves, for fear of being judged, labeled, bullied, or harassed. These kind of hostile surroundings, where everyone is more worried about not becoming a victim then they are about doing well in school or life, is not conducive to a healthy learning environment or a healthy person. As an ally, it is my hope that one day, everyone will be able to go to school and just be themselves and focus on being the best they can be. I want to wake up in a world where people are free from gender stereotypes that stifle their ability to lead the life they want to.
Ultimately, I believe the quote that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” is true, and I don't want to take the side of bullying. Allies are in a position to “be the change,” as GLSEN says. They have the opportunity to break down the walls between LGBT students and their straight peers that often lead to a feeling of isolation for the LGBT students. To be a voice for people who are in the closet and can't speak up for themselves, be a supporter for people who are coming out or need somebody to talk to, and fight along side all the wonderful LGBT youth who have worked to achieve safer and more inclusive schools.
Being an ally is something I would encourage everyone to do, because although you may face some challenges, I have had so many great experiences and met so many amazing people because of being an ally. And at the end of the day, I feel really proud to be a part of a movement that involves people of all different sexual orientations and gender identities, joined together for a great cause.
January 04, 2015
Today we were excited to learn that Changing the Game: GLSEN Sports Project Director Pat Griffin and NCLR's Sport Project Director Helen Carroll were named the 2011 Persons of the Year by Outsports' readers.
Readers of the the popular LGBT sports publication cast a whopping 53% of their votes to both long-time activists. Other finalists included High School LGBT sports bloggers and 'It Gets Better' teams tying at 11%. Rick Welts (a GLSEN 2011 Respect Awards honoree) and the Golden State Warriors earned 10% of the vote followed by Sean Avery at 9% and Anton Hysen at 7%.
Shortly after the news, GLSEN contacted Pat to congratulate her on the honor. She shared:
I am so honored to receive this recognition and happy that it brings attention to the GLSEN Sports Project. Making sports safe and respectful for LGBT participants has been my professional passion for several years and being recognized for this work feels really great. I am especially happy to share the honor with my friend and colleague, Helen Carroll.
"No one has done more for the equality of LGBT athletes over the last 30 years than Pat and Helen. No one." - Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler
In 2011, Pat joined GLSEN to launch Changing the Game, an education and advocacy initiative focused on addressing LGBT issues in K-12 school-based athletic and physical education programs. Helen serves as an advisory member of the GLSEN project. She is Professor Emeritus in the Social Justice Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the former Director of It Takes A Team! Educational Campaign for LGBT Issues in Sport, an initiative of the Women's Sports Foundation. She is also an accomplished author and speaker on LGBT issues in athletics.
Both Pat and Helen have extensively worked together. The duo was responsible for the groundbreaking NCAA policy focused on the inclusion of transgender-student athletes.
Helen currently heads NCLR's Sports Project working closely with major national sports organizations including the San Francisco 49ers, the Women's Sports Foundation and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Some of her past accomplishments include serving as a national championship basketball coach for the University of North Carolina-Asheville and had been a NCAA Athletic Director for 12 years.
GLSEN reached out to Helen for her reaction to the news. This is what Helen had to say about being named "Person of the Year" alongside her colleague Pat:
It is an honor to be recognized by Outsports and their readers, especially considering the group of strong and courageous nominees. Teaming up with Pat Griffin and establishing a strong collaboration between the NCLR Sports Project and GLSEN’s Changing the Game, I feel, has been instrumental in the work we have accomplished. We will continue to strive to make the sports world an accepting and inclusive place for all LGBT people.
Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler had this to say about today's announcement:
No one has done more for the equality of LGBT athletes over the last 30 years than Pat and Helen. No one. We at Outsports consider them the two most under-appreciated and under-recognized people in the movement. Their work has touched people of every race, gender and age, regardless of sexual orientation. In 2011 they yet again demonstrated their deep commitment to equality and their willingness to do the tough work without the headlines. They are also incredibly nice, warm, giving women. If the rest of us did just a fraction of the good work these two women have done for decades, we wouldn't be fighting these fights anymore.
GLSEN is proud of the lasting contributions both women have made in the world of sports on behalf of all LGBT athletes. Their lasting contributions over the past 30+ years continue to be felt by many. GLSEN is fortunate to work alongside both women through Changing the Game in making sure that future generations of LGBT athletes are treated with dignity and respect in schools across the country.
Interested in teaming up with Pat and Helen at Changing the Game?
January 04, 2015
Today Barnes & Noble announced its returning partnership with GLSEN in support of No Name-Calling Week.The retailer announced its second-year partnership with their release posted below. Barnes & Noble also joins Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Cisco, McDonald's, Allstate Foundation and Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation as institutional partners for the annual event.
Barnes & Noble Announces January is “No Name-Calling Month”
Barnes & Noble Partners with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) for the Second Year to Raise Awareness on Bullying
New York, New York – January 4, 2011 –Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced plans to once again recognize January as “No Name-Calling Month” in its stores and online at Barnes & Noble.com. Now in its second year, the month-long campaign is aimed at bringing attention to the national problem of name-calling and bullying of all kinds. Barnes & Noble stores across the country will bring awareness to “No Name-Calling Month” by placing “No Name-Calling” signage in various locations, and hosting a national Storytime event and other activities. Barnes & Noble.com will feature exclusive video content from bestselling children’s, young adult and adult authors discussing their thoughts and experiences on bullying. Barnes & Noble has partnered with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), creators of No Name-Calling Week in schools, in this effort to stop bullying.
“Barnes & Noble is pleased to be partnering with Simon & Schuster and GLSEN in this important effort to bring awareness to the seriousness of name-calling, teasing, bullying and cyberbullying,” said Mary Amicucci, vice president of Children’s Books for Barnes & Noble.
“Barnes & Noble is pleased to be partnering with Simon & Schuster and GLSEN in this important effort to bring awareness to the seriousness of name-calling, teasing, bullying and cyberbullying,” said Mary Amicucci, vice president of Children’s Books for Barnes & Noble. “Barnes & Noble has always provided parents, teachers and children with books, magazines and other materials, as well as in-store activities, that engage people in on-going dialogues and inspire ways to communicate with one another. This campaign is just one more way we can help.”
“GLSEN is honored that Barnes & Noble is a returning partner for No Name-Calling Week,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. “Barnes & Noble has been a tremendous supporter for this annual event that aims to address name-calling and bullying in our schools. We are thankful for their commitment to share the message of respect for difference to students, parents and educators across the country.”
“We are extremely proud to have co-founded No Name-Calling Week with GLSEN eight years ago and we are delighted that Barnes & Noble has joined us once again to help spread the ever important message of acceptance and respect to thousands of students, parents, and educators across the country,” said Michelle Fadlalla, Director of Marketing, Education & Library for Simon & Schuster.
First launched in March 2004, No Name-Calling Week was developed in a partnership between GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. The campaign was inspired by the young adult novel, The Misfits by James Howe, which tells the story of four best friends who, tired of the constant teasing in their middle school, decide to run for student government on a No Name-Calling platform.
During No Name-Calling Month, stores will host Barnes & Noble Educator Appreciation Week from January 14 through January 22. Stores will have No Name-Calling materials available for teachers and educators including book recommendations, tip sheets for organizing No Name-Calling events, lesson plans for elementary and middle school students, bracelets, classroom posters and buttons for educators to use in their classrooms.
Barnes & Noble.com will feature:
- A No Name-Calling page (www.bn.com/noname).
- B&N Kids Expert Circle articles with tips and advice on how to deal with bullying (www.bn.com/expertcircle).
- E-mails regarding No Name-Calling events and special savings offers.
- Exclusive video content from bestselling children’s, teen and adult authors including Hilary Duff, Richard Paul Evans, Lisa McMann, Laurie Halse Anderson, Ellen Hopkins, Margaret Peterson Haddix and Sarah Pekkanen. The authors will discuss their thoughts on and experiences with bullying.
As part of this campaign, GLSEN will also produce a National No Name-Calling Creative Expression Exhibit, in which students can submit any type of artistic expression that relates to their experiences with or ideas of bullying. Over the years, thousands of students nationwide have submitted a variety of poems, stories, essays, drawings, collages, sculptures and songs. More information about past submissions, as well as about the No Name-Calling Week campaign can be found at www.nonamecallingweek.org and in Barnes & Noble stores.
Simon & Schuster has created a No-Name Calling page (http://pages.simonandschuster.com/nonamecalling/) for parents, teachers, and librarians featuring recommended books, discussion guides, anti-bullying videos from bestselling authors, and a chat board.
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), the world's largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 703 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, also operates 637 college bookstores serving over 4.6 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through BN.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web's largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than two million titles in its NOOK Bookstore™ (www.bn.com/ebooks). Through Barnes & Noble’s NOOK™ eReading product offering, customers can buy and read digital books and content on the widest range of platforms, including NOOK devices, partner company products, and the most popular mobile and computing devices using free NOOK software.
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company's corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com. Follow Barnes & Noble on Twitter (www.bn.com/twitter), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/barnesandnoble) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/bnstudio).
About Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, one of the leading children’s book publishers in the world, is comprised of the following imprints: Aladdin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Beach Lane Books, Libros para niños, Little Simon®, Little Simon Inspirations™, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon Pulse, and Simon Spotlight®. While maintaining an extensive award-winning backlist, the division continues to publish acclaimed and bestselling books for children of all ages. In addition to numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners, Simon & Schuster publishes such high-profile properties and series as Eloise, Olivia, Raggedy Ann & Andy™, Henry & Mudge®, The Hardy Boys®, Nancy Drew®, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts®,Nickelodeon’s® Dora the Explorer®, Blue’s Clues® and SpongeBob SquarePants®, and Mirage studios’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™. For more information about Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, visit our website at KIDS.SimonandSchuster.com
Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at SimonandSchuster.com
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.
January 04, 2015
In the beginning of December, the US Department of Education (ED) released a report detailing their analysis ofstate and local anti-bullying laws. GLSEN applauds ED for taking this much needed step to support state and local anti-bullying lawsand policies. Building upon the critical elements the Department has identifiedas necessary to create comprehensive anti-bullying laws and policies, thereport has identified best practices in state laws, state model policies, anddistrict policies. We hope that states and districts will examine their ownanti-bullying laws and policies in light of this report and consider updatingtheir laws to create safer schools for all students.
We areespecially encouraged that the report details the need for enumeration inanti-bullying laws and policies. Enumerated laws and policies provide specificprotection based on characteristics that are frequently the target of bullyingand harassment, such as race, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and genderidentity and expression.
The report assesses that whileabout a third of state anti-bullying laws contain enumeration language, morethan 2/3 of state model policies are enumerated. This reflects the factthat state education associations recognize the need to enumerate anti-bullyingpolicies to provide protection for all students.
The report also looks at other important components ofanti-bullying laws such as prohibition of bullying through electronic means otherwise known as cyberbullying. While
36 states prohibit cyberbullying, 13 states specifically allow districts to prohibit off campus cyberbullyingactivity.
Cyberbulling is a developing area of the law, and there are a lot ofquestions about how much authority and responsibility schools should have topunish this sort of behavior.
While thevast majority of states already have anti-bullying laws, the report shows that 3 states prohibit bullying without providing a suitable definition of theterm, and 10 states prohibit bullying but do not require any specificcomponents for district policies.
Moreover, the majority of state laws do notprovide specific protection to vulnerable students, such as LGBT students. Thispatchwork of inconsistent protections for students demonstrates the need for afederal anti-bullying measure. GLSEN supports the Safe Schools Improvement Act(H.R. 1648/S. 506), a federal anti-bullying bill which would provide a clear,enumerated definition of bullying and require all districts to take steps toaddress these issues.
Do you know who the National Safe Schools Partnership is? See who else supports the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
We areencouraged by the strong stance ED has taken onbullying, from issuing guidance to making clear that districts that ignorebullying and harassment may incur liability under federal civil rights laws.Similarly, we believe this report will serve as a useful tool to advocates,educators, lawmakers, and school districts as they develop safe schools lawsand policies that will protect all of our nation’s youth.
January 04, 2015
>Like every other workplace, the GLSEN staff came together to celebrate the upcoming winter holidays. Our Public Policy staff in Washington, DC joined us for the day-long holiday party. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how we bring in the holiday season.
This year's holiday party gave staff the chance to exercise a different kind of skill set than what is normally used at GLSEN. Throughout the day, staff took part in a lively Wii competition (a la Michael Jackson: The Experience and Dance Dance Revolution) and competed in several rounds of Apples to Apples, Catch Phrase, and old-fashioned darts.
|The competition is fierce.|
A make-shift photo booth was set up to capture some memorable moments. But we'll let our fair-minded readers be the final judges.
|Say "Hello!" to some of our Communications staff|
Every year, GLSEN's holiday party includes a Silent Auction where staff bring a small item (new or gently used) for others to bid on. Proceeds raised from the annual auction are donated to a local organization that directly serves the LGBT community.
Some of the items up for bidding included:
- Yoshitomo Nara Wood Prints
- Legalize Trans T-Shirt
- 15 awesome CDs in German
- Knitting lessons
- Battlestar Gallactica (Seasons 1-3)
- Handmade scarf
- Issey Miyake body products
- World map
- Restoration Hardware foot duvets
- A Bengali lunch
- Fish mold
Over $500 was raised from the staff's Silent Auction to benefit The Ali Forney Center, a LGBT youth homeless shelter based in New York. The organization offers additional services including a drop-in center, medical care, employment assistance, counseling and transitional housing.
As GLSEN gets ready for the winter holidays, we asked a handful of our staff to answer the following question:
Here are some of their answers:
Ashley, Accounting Manager: I love to dress up my cats andtake photos of them posing with the gifts under the tree.
La-Trinnia, Constituent Relationship Manager: My dad and I pile all 15 of my niecesand nephews in the van and drive around checking out theneighborhood Christmas decorations and drinking hot chocolate.
Brian M., Online Strategies Manager: Myfamily makes æbleskiver. It’s supposed to be a Danish dessert, but we usually can’t wait and eat them all Christmas morning.
Ian, Special Events and Online Giving Manager: Wandering through the Holiday fairs while listening to“All I want for Christmas is You,” on repeat.
Kris, Executive Assistant: My best friend and I prepare a huge Christmas feast forfriends, family, and community members who will be here in New York for theholiday.
Brian S., Major and Planned Gifts Manager: Everyyear I look forward to driving to Ohio for a 3 day marathon of family Christmasparties, lots of eggnog, and hopefully snow.
Emily, Senior Research Associate: Ialways make chocolate fondue on New Year's Eve. Chocolate covered strawberriesgo great with champagne!
Kiwi, Community Initiatives Associate: As an atheist, the holidays don't have anyspiritual significance for me, but I appreciate the opportunity theyprovide to bring my family together. I also have a soft spot for watchingRudolph on TV.
Thank you to all of our readers for being a part of GLSEN's work to create safe and respectful schools for all students. The work we've been able to carry out for more than 20 years has only been possible because of your generosity and unwavering belief in our mission.
January 04, 2015
January 04, 2015
In an article by the The Hollywood Reporter, film director Brett Ratner announced that he was stepping down from producing the 84th Academy Awards after coming under fire for using anti-gay slurs in a recent screening of "Tower Heist."
Ratner was participating a Q&A session for his upcoming film when he responded to a question about rehearsals from an audience member saying, "Rehearsal? What's that? Rehearsal's for fags."
GLSEN intimately knows the damaging effects of anti-gay slurs and they can often be heard in school hallways, cafeterias, cafeterias or the locker room.
According to the 2009 GLSEN National School Climate Survey, 72.4% of students reported they heard homophobic remarks like "dyke" or "faggot" frequently or often at school.
The 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students also found that at school nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation.
Ratner's homophobic comment quickly gained widespread attention causing a flurry of criticism and resulting in Ratner's resignation as producer of the Academy Awards.
The film director wrote in a public statement:
So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.
Brett Ratner called Tom Sherak, the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to announce his resignation from the awards show.
In response, Sherak said in a brief statement:
"He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself. Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent."
This campaign aims to raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in America’s schools. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce and prevent the use of homophobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens. The campaign also aims to reach adults, including school personnel and parents; their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behavior.
Have you heard any anti-LGBT remarks or experienced harassment because of your sexual orientation or gender identity? Let us know!
January 04, 2015
Blog Post on Michigan by Alison Gill, Public Policy Manager
Michigan has been deeply divided over the issue of anti-bullying legislation for more than 10 years. As one of only three states that have failed to enact any sort of anti-bullying protection for students, Michigan lacks vital legal protections which have been shown to make schools safer for all students. The main issue which has held up passage of an anti-bullying bill is whether or not the bill should include enumeration, or a specific listing of characteristics that are frequently the subject of bullying and harassment, such as race, disability, and sexual orientation.
Why is this such a hurdle? Well it isn’t a conflict about the best way to protect students. Research has continually shown that enumeration in anti-bullying laws is critical to ensure that all students are protected from bullying and harassment. Students who attend schools with policies that enumerate categories report less bullying and harassment, less absenteeism due to feeling unsafe, more teacher intervention, and greater reporting of incidents when they do occur. Enumeration provides teachers and other educators the tools they need to implement anti-bullying and harassment policies, which makes it easier for them to prevent bullying and intervene when incidents occur. So research shows its necessary, educators agree its necessary, and common sense demonstrates it’s necessary to name the behavior that you wish to prevent.
So why is it controversial to provide specific protection? The answer is simple: Because it might benefit LGBT students. Certain lawmakers would rather provide completely ineffective protections than specifically articulate that LGBT students should not be bullied.
Never has this been demonstrated so clearly as this week when the Michigan Senate passed SB 137, cruelly named “Matt’s Safe Schools Law.” While we had been expecting them to move forward with a generic, nonenumerated bill for some time, the bill the Michigan Senate actually passed is far worse. It actually creates an exception to the prohibitions based on “sincerely held religious belief(s) or moral conviction(s).” In other words, bullying is not allowed, unless you have a “religious” reason for doing so.
Let me ask you this: What possible religious reason could you have for tormenting another student?
A “religious” right to torture other students is not only unacceptable, it is absurd. Lawmakers, educators, even the father whose son this bill was named for have spoken out against this measure. Now Michigan House of Representatives needs to hear from you—Please, if you live in Michigan, call your representative and tell them not to support this terrible bill.
January 04, 2015
"I'm especially thrilled that we are going to be able to raise money for my charity of choice this year, GLSEN - the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network. Their vital work is helping youth all over America! Buying some fierce shoes can do a lot of good too, and that's gonna make this holiday season truly faboosh!"
In addition, ShoeDazzle is presenting a further fundraising opportunity to first time clients, Perez Hilton fans and GLSEN supporters: $5 from any first time purchase on ShoeDazzle.com using the code PEREZ at checkout, beginning October 24 – November 15, will be donated to GLSEN as well.
ShoeDazzle is a leading online fashion brand delivering personalized monthly shoe, handbag and jewelry selections to members by its team of top celebrity stylists. The company, which was founded by Brian Lee, Robert Shapiro, MJ Eng, and Kim Kardashian, who serves as the site’s Chief Fashion Stylist, was launched in March 2009 and now boasts over one and a half million Facebook fans.
January 04, 2015
Nearly half a century ago, Alabama Governor George Wallace stood in a schoolhouse door and told U.S. Justice Department officials that his state Constitution forbade two black students from entering. With a little coaxing from the National Guard, Governor Wallace stood down and the students were admitted.
Today, Governor Robert Bentley symbolically stands in front of school doors across the state telling thousands of students that they, too, are unwelcome in Alabama schools, this time because of their immigration status.
Time and time again, courts have found that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government final authority over immigration matters in this country. In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot deny a free public education to undocumented immigrants.
Yet earlier this year, Alabama passed the so-called Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, ordering school officials to track the immigration status of students and their parents. On September 29, when a federal judge allowed the law to go into effect, over 2,000 Alabama students were pulled out of school overnight.
Parents feared that school administrators and employees would suddenly act as immigration agents resulting in the exodus.
Fortunately, a federal judge has temporarily enjoined the portion of the Beason-Hammon Act which would require public schools to determine the immigration status of students, but several other equally damaging aspects of the law remain in effect.
In the wake of the Beason-Hammon Act coming into effect, the U.S. Justice Department Justice Department officials are monitoring for bullying incidents linked to the law. According to Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, the Department has heard a number of reports of increases in bullying across Alabama.
Ironically, efforts are currently being made to pass an enumerated anti-bullying bill in Alabama that would protect students from bullying, harassment, and intimidation based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. GLSEN strongly supports these efforts and commends Alabama state Rep. Patricia Todd on the introduction of this bill.
At the same time, it is very unfortunate that the Beason-Hammon Act is countering efforts to make Alabama schools safer.
What all children—regardless of immigration status—need to succeed is an education in a safe and supportive environment. Over time, this nation has made a great deal of progress toward making sure each child receives just that. It is unfortunate that Alabama lawmakers would try to impede that progress.
One can only hope that this president’s Justice Department has the same success that President Kennedy’s did forty-eight years ago, and that 2,000 children in Alabama will be able to return to school.