New York, NY
—The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, decries Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to veto the landmark Dignity In All Schools Act, which would protect all New York City K-12 public school students, faculty, volunteers and visitors from bullying, harassment, and discrimination on the basis of real or perceived race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability. We regard his veto as a missed opportunity to set a standard for our nation's cities to emulate.
The veto is further demonstrative of a lack of understanding of the school climates in New York where violence, bias and harassment are the rule, not the exception. According to GLSEN’s 2003 National School Climate Survey:
- 90% of students attending public schools in New York report hearing homophobic remarks frequently or often in their schools.
- 64.8% of New York students reported feeling unsafe at their schools based on their sexual orientation and 29.7% based on their gender identity/ expression.
- 31.4% of students in New York report missing one or more days of school in the past month because they felt unsafe.
- Students who did not have (or did not know of) a policy protecting them from violence and harassment were nearly 40% more likely to skip school than those who did.
“Unfortunately today the mayor used his 'bully pulpit' to empower bullies. Where the data show that bullying, harassment, and discrimination are the rule of the land, this was a real missed opportunity to support and protect the students of New York City,” said GLSEN’s Executive Director, Kevin Jennings.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.