NEW YORK, Sept. 3, 2008 - GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, applauds the release today of New York City Chancellor Joel Klein's Regulation A-832 to strengthen and expand the Respect for All initiative, a citywide training program that implements interventions that have shown to make a difference in improving school climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.
"GLSEN commends Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chancellor Joel Klein, Councilwoman Christine Quinn and the Department of Education for recognizing the need to ensure that every student is safe and welcome in New York City Schools," said GLSEN Founder and Executive Director Kevin Jennings.
"The Chancellor's Regulation issued today, along with the City's renewed commitment to the Respect for All training program developed in partnership with GLSEN, is a crucial step toward addressing the bullying and harassment that effects so many of the City's students, particularly those who are, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."
Having already trained more than 1,000 New York City educators, the Respect for All Initiative will now include additional interventions to reduce bullying and harassment of students in city schools. The program began last school year training school staff to identify and address bias-related bullying and harassment, including bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. New components of this year's program include the designation of a Respect for All liaison in every school and the school-wide distribution and posting of Respect for All materials, mandatory incident reporting and a requirement that every principal have a plan for the full implementation of the Chancellor's Regulation and the Respect for All initiative.
"GLSEN was a crucial partner in the development and delivery of the Respect for All program, contributing its expertise on LGBT issues in education to the City's effort to find real solutions to the problem of bullying and harassment in our schools," Chancellor Klein said. "We look forward to our continued partnership with GLSEN as the program enters its second year."
GLSEN's 2005 National School Climate Survey shows that four out of five LGBT students report being verbally harassed at school because of their sexual orientation and nearly two-thirds of LGBT students report that they feel unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation. Furthermore, the average GPA for students who were consistently harassed was a half grade lower than that of other students.
The presence of supportive educators who can intervene appropriately and effectively to bullying and harassment has a direct correlation with improved educational outcomes for students. GLSEN's research shows that LGBT students who can identify supportive school staff report a greater sense of safety at school, fewer days of skipping school and a stronger commitment to continuing their education through high school and beyond.
The other community partners in the Respect for All initiative are the Anti-Defamation League, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility, Operation Respect and Youth Enrichment Services of the New York LGBT Center.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all 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, research, public education or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.