January 16, 2015

Hey, GSAs: It's time to show your GLSEN spirit by participating in a GSA Challenge! Here's what you need to know about GSA Challenges. 

  • GSA Challenges will be announced periodically throughout the school year, giving you a chance to do cool stuff with your GSA in exchange for cool stuff from us.
  • Why participate? GSA Challenges help us stay in touch with you and see what your GSA is up to! Plus...
  • ...as a bonus, after each challenge, we'll randomly choose a few GSAs to win awesome prizes. 
  • To participate and enter your GSA into the drawing, complete the challenge and share a picture of it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CaughtBeingKind. 
  • Only registered GSAs are eligible to win. Don’t know if your GSA is registered? Register now to make sure you’re eligible

Ready for your next challenge? 

THE CHALLENGE: Have your GSA do a super fabulous random act of kindness. 

  • Include as many GSA members as you can. 
  • Coordinate something kind you can do for a person or group of people, the cooler or sweeter the better! 
  • Do your random act of kindness! 
  • Take a picture or Instagram video to document your act of kindness and share it using the hashtag #CaughtBeingKind.

THE WINNINGS: Each day, one registered GSA will be selected to get a gift box from GLSEN, filled with items from our GLSEN store!

THE DEADLINE: The challenge runs throughout No Name-Calling Week. We'll pick a GSA each morning beginning Tuesday, Jan. 20 and ending Friday, Jan. 23. Submissions will be accepted until 11:59PM EST Friday, Jan.23 and we will notify the winning GSAs! 

Time to show us what your GSA's got! Good luck! 

January 08, 2015

Why silence? Aren’t we trying to fight against silence?

A silent demonstration can be a peaceful way to bring urgent attention to an important issue. Silence as a method of organizing is much different than silence that is coerced or forced through oppressive bullying, harassment and intimidation. A silent demonstration is active, rather than passive, and causes people to pay attention. Silent demonstrations can:

  • Bring attention to an issue and encourage reflection on the issue;
  • Simulate the how others are silenced;
  • Focus the attention on the issue or cause and not the protester;
  • Demonstrate that the demonstrators desire peaceful resolution;
  • Spark discussion and dialogue.

Through your active silence on the Day of Silence you will send a message that bullying and harassment faced by LGBT and ally youth affects you, your school and community. And remember, the Day of Silence is a moment to open the conversation on this issue. Follow up your participation with a Breaking the Silence event. You can plan a rally at your school, facilitate a workshop for students and teachers about LGBT issues or throw a party with your GSA or host a discussion group with DOS participants. For more info on how to organize a Breaking the Silence event, check out the Breaking the Silence info sheet.

January 04, 2015

Today marks the last day of GLSEN's ninth annual No Name-Calling Week. We couldn't be more happier with the participation. As we mentioned in a previous post, thousands of schools took part including communities like Kewanee, IL; Fort Scott, KS; Asheville, NC and; Mandeville, LA.

But what about when a corporation teams up to participate in No Name-Calling Week?

Cisco Systems has been a leading sponsor of No Name-Calling Week for the past six years. Cisco Systems Vice President and GLSEN Board Member Rick Moran took some time out of his busy schedule to share this thoughts about why the company supports the program, his own experiences with bullying and what to do if a student is bullied.

Cisco Vice President Rick Moran

Thanks for sitting down with us for an interview. Can you share how Cisco first became involved in No Name-Calling Week?

Cisco got involved six years ago, which was before I joined the [GLSEN] board.  I was in NYC and met with Kevin (GLSEN's founder and former Executive Director).  We talked about GLSEN’s programs, and No Name-Calling Week really stood out as a program that I thought Cisco might support.  I reported back to our LGBT and Advocates employee resource group and suggested we rally around it.  Most people didn’t know anything about it, but once they heard about the lessons and resources, they got very excited.

So No Name-Calling Week really grabbed their attention? 

Cisco’s tagline is “Changing the way people live, work, play and learn” and this program touched “learn”.  The members of the LGBT employee resource group got very excited and wanted to help.  They engaged other Cisco employee resource groups to also participate.

Cisco employees at a school for No Name-Calling Week

That's amazing. It's also incredible that Cisco actually participates in the program. What does that usually look like?

Generally, we have 40 to 50 participants.  They wear Cisco t-shirts, introduce themselves, wear a badge and give a lesson.  They find it amazing and gratifying.  The challenge is the education environment is that we have to work a little harder to help the educators feel comfortable with having a non-teacher in their classroom.  But in all of the No Name-Calling Week experiences, we’ve had a great response from schools in Raleigh, suburban Dallas and Silicon Valley.

You mentioned about involving other Cisco employees in the week-long program. Can you share a little bit more about that?

We’ve brought in members of other employee resources groups: Hispanic, People of Color, Women.  We have a lot of employees who are new to the country, especially from the Middle East, as many  of our engineers come from India and Pakistan.  Their kids are bullied, and the culture of the company is to support and help them.

It's very rewarding to hear No Name-Calling Week would resonate with people coming from different backgrounds including immigrant families. It's also interesting to hear you describe Cisco like more of a community than simply a workplace.

Cisco has an interesting dynamic and presence in Silicon Valley.  We have 37,000 employees on campus, but when you add their children and other dependents, we have connections to more 100,000 people.  So what happens at Cisco can really be a force for change.

Cisco employee teaching a No Name-Calling Week lesson

As you know, bullying can manifest itself in different ways. The topic of cyberbullying is gaining a lot of traction and is something that we at GLSEN are paying more attention to. Is cyberbullying something Cisco cares about?

We are a hardware company.  We build networks. There’s a lot that we can do through our technologies, and we are actively looking at the implications of all this in the cyberworld, where the rules are different and the opportunity to do harm is great.

Of course, it's been great to count Cisco as a leading sponsor of No Name-Calling Week. But can you share why the educational event personally resonates with you?

My dad was an educator, which meant we were around teachers all the time, so I had a very different relationship with teachers.  I grew up in a mid-sized town with 5 high schools and 8 middle schools.  I believed that teachers were there to help me, and I went to them when I needed help.

You've watched No Name-Calling Week grow from a small event into one of the largest bullying prevention programs in the country. Why does Cisco continue to lend its support?

Over the years, people have wondered what Cisco is willing to stand behind.  I’m very proud that Cisco has been so willing to stand behind No Name-Calling Week for the past six years.  Seeing other corporations get involved is fantastic -- of course, I’d like for us to be the only sponsor of the program -- but I’m thrilled to see others step forward.  It’s a powerful statement about being willing to take on the challenge of bullying.

Cisco employee teaching at a school during No Name-Calling Week

Thanks to you and Cisco, we've definitely been able to grow the program into what it is today. We just have one final question before we let you go: what advice would you give to a student who is the victim of bullying?

I learned that the most important thing to do about bullying is to tell someone.  Talk to an adult.  It is simply the most important thing you can do.  Get out of the situation as quickly as you can.  It’s ok to run away and be ready to fight another day.  And if you see someone else getting bullied, and you can’t help, get someone who can. Don't ever turn a blind eye.

Thanks Rick for taking the time to chat with us. We also appreciate your support.

January 04, 2015

GLSEN is proud to support the first-ever National Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Day! We teamed up with more than 35+ statewide and national partners to recognize the amazing contributions GSAs have made and continue to make in schools across the country.

GSA Day was first organized in 2006 by the Iowa Pride Network after Governor Tom Vilsack declared October 25, 2006, "Iowa Gay-Straight Alliance Day" in honor of GSAs around the state that work to improve Iowa school climate. This year, the statewide observance has gone national with a host of support.

This is what GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard had to say about GSA Day:

GLSEN is proud to work with the thousands of GSAs across the country, Iowa Pride Network and fellow National GSA Day partners to recognize the tremendous impact these student clubs have on creating safe and affirming learning environments for all students.

Curious about how a GSA can benefit a student in school? Check out GLSEN's Research Brief  filled with interesting findings on how GSAs are actually beneficial to improving school climate.

The White House is also celebrating National GSA Day. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a special video for students in GSAs. You can watch it below!

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It's worth noting that issues facing GSAs have not been ignored by the Obama Administration. The U.S. Department of Education issued a "Dear Colleagues" letter outlining the legal rights of students to establish GSAs in school.

GLSEN is no stranger to the White House or Capitol Hill. The White House also hosted a summit on bullying prevention with our Student Ambassadors taking part. And a GLSEN delegation attended a White House reception in honor of LGBT Pride Month.

So what are YOU doing to celebrate National GSA Day?

Here are a few ideas to get involved:

Start a GSA. Does your school not have a GSA? You're not alone and we have the tools if you want to establish a GSA at your school. Take a look at some of the easy-to-read GSA resources that we offer to student leaders. We make GSA organizing a snap with tips, tools and activities. Get the goods!

Be counted. Take part in GLSEN's GSA Census so we can make sure student-led clubs like yours have the resources and support to continue your work in schools across the country. The process is simple and will take less than 3 minutes!

Connect. Join the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook page where you can network with other GSA student leaders, exchange tips and find a community of other amazing students working to improve their schools and communities.

Lobby with us. GLSEN is still accepting applications for its Safe Schools Advocacy Summit. The 4-day event in Washington, DC brings together students, educators, parents and community members to learn about how to become effective Safe School advocates. GLSEN covers all of your expenses (travel, accommodations, food, etc) if your selected to come. Applications are due February 1. Apply here!

How are you celebrating National GSA Day? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!

 

January 04, 2015

GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week is well underway in thousands of schools all across the country. The nationally recognized event is aimed at addressing name-calling and bullying in schools.

The week-long event was first organized by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing with more than 50 participating organizations supporting the week-long event including the National Education Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

DID YOU KNOW? This is the ninth annual No Name-Calling Week. The event was first organized in 2004.

There's been a lot of buzz around this year's event. Media have reported about No Name-Calling Week taking place in communities like Phoenix, Fort Scott and Asheville. Massachusetts went a step further with Governor Deval Patrick designating January 25 as "No Name-Calling Day"  in the Bay State.

Even Boy Scouts America endorsed No Name-Calling Week.

FUN FACT: Schools participating in No Name-Calling Week can download a variety of lesson plans, activities and other suggested resources. There have been more than 27,000 downloads of our materials in the past 30 days alone.

GLSEN's No Name-Calling Week was inspired by "The Misfits," a young adult novel written by James Howe. The story follows four students who have each experienced name-calling and decide to run for student council on the platform of creating a "No Name Day" at school. Ever since, James Howe has continued to support the annual week-long event organized at all grade levels.

Thanks to our friends at Simon & Schuster, James Howe made a video to share with No Name-Calling Week participants and supporters. You can watch his message below.

ARE YOU PARTICIPATING? Let us know if No Name-Calling Week is taking place in your school by sending us a tweet or letting us know on Facebook.

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January 04, 2015

We made it! No Name-Calling Week is now in full swing! Are you looking for a lesson plan?

Check out Let's Get Real, a short film produced by GLSEN's long-time organizational partner, GroundSpark. Let’s Get Real doesn’t sugarcoat the truth or feature adults lecturing kids about what to do when kids pick on them. Instead, it examines a variety of issues that lead to taunting and bullying, including racial differences, perceived sexual orientation, learning disabilities, religious differences, sexual harassment and others. The film not only gives a voice to targeted kids, but also to kids who do the bullying to find out why they lash out at their peers and how it makes them feel. The most heartening part of Let’s Get Real includes stories of youth who have mustered the courage to stand up for themselves or a classmate.

At GLSEN, we recommend this excellent short film to use with your students in grades 5 – 9. Let's Get Real is widely hailed as one of the best tools for opening up meaningful, life-changing dialogue in schools today.

As a special offer for No Name Calling Week, GroundSpark is providing free streaming of Let's Get Real the entire week. To obtain your free digital stream, just send an email to streamfree@groundspark.org saying "Let's Get Real" NNCW 2012 in the subject line.

January 04, 2015

GLSEN is excited to announce our second daylong pre-conference institute on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Creating Change: How you can make schools safer for all! We’re also co-presenters for the first ever Creating Change Lobby Day also on Thursday.

Friday through Sunday GLSEN staff and volunteers will be leading a number of workshops – on our research, our best practices for youth/adult work, safe schools policy work, and the Day of Silence. You can also find GLSEN staff and volunteers at our table in the exhibition hall. If you’re going to be at the conference, please stop by our presentations to learn more about the work you can do or come by our display to say hi. We’d love to see you!

If you haven’t registered yet – sign up now at www.creatingchange.org.

Schools Focus: How you can make schools safer for all!
Thursday, January 26

Are you a youth or adult interested in making a difference in the schools in your community? Come to this day-long institute to learn about the current state of LGBT issues in schools across the country and what you can do to make a difference. Whether you interact daily with a school community or are an interested bystander who wants to get involved, we’ll share tools for you to advocate for and implement effective evidence-based interventions at the state and local level both personally and by providing information and resources to others. Appropriate for any who are interested in safer schools – whether you’ve been doing the work already for years or are just preparing to dive in. (If you’re more experienced, please be prepared to share some of your best practices in discussion sessions.) Organized and presented by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

The Task Force Lobby Day
Thursday, January 26

The Task Force Lobby Day will be an incredible way to participate in the political process and to make our voices heard by congressional members. This will give grassroots and community activists a stimulating opportunity to help create change at the federal level.

We will explain why workplace fairness, safe schools and anti-violence services are tremendous concerns for LGBT people. The “How to Effectively Lobby Your Member of Congress” portion of the day will include message training on the legislation and role-play visits to give participants a chance to practice messages. Thousands of everyday people will share their stories to persuade their Members of Congress to support and co-sponsor inclusive-and-focused LGBT legislation. We encourage individuals of all experience levels to sign up for Lobby Day. First-time citizen lobbyists are welcome and encouraged! We will board buses from Baltimore and have lunch on the road to Washington, DC.

Federal Efforts to Achieve Safer Schools
Saturday, January 28 – 6:30 – 7:30 pm

This workshop will examine current federal efforts around safe schools legislation, specifically related to anti-bullying and anti-harassment legislation. The importance of such legislation will be discussed, as well as current status, likely legislative vehicles, and the role participants can play in advocating for legislation to create safe schools.

2-4-6-8 Get Ready to Evaluate!: Practical Program Evaluation for the LGBT Activist
Saturday, January 28 - 10:45 am - 12:15 pm

This workshop will introduce common evaluation concepts, provide strategies to help you assess your work, and explore how sharing your evaluation findings can help further the LGBTQ movement. Participants will gain practice using evaluation tools and explore cost-effective, feasible ways to evaluate your activities.

Day of Silence Session
Saturday, January 28 - 10:45 am - 12:15 pm

Calling all K-12 student organizers and adult allies! Come learn about and prepare for the National Day of Silence, the largest annual LGBT-student action in the country, designed to bring attention to and action against anti-LGBT bias, bullying and harassment in K-12 schools! Participants will leave the workshop with a thorough understanding of the action and how to successfully implement it in their school and/or community.

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 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

About GLSEN
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.

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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. 

Research has continually demonstrated that enumeration is an essential element of laws needed to provide effective protection to vulnerable students, such as LGBT students. 

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.

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