NEW YORK - GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, lauds the Department of Education for releasing comprehensive guidelines
for anti-bullying laws and policies in a technical assistance memo released last week, and in particular the Department's inclusion of enumeration.
"GLSEN applauds the Department of Education for recommending common-sense guidelines supported by 10 years of GLSEN research and countless national education organizations," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said.
"The guidelines are thorough, comprehensive and list examples in current law to support each provision.
"We were especially pleased that the Department recognized that including enumerated characteristics most often targeted for bullying in laws and policies is critically important. Anti-bullying policies that enumerate categories such as race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity are the most effective at addressing all types of bullying. When it comes to bias-based bullying in particular, we have to be willing to name the problem if we want to protect all of our students."
Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students experienced harassment in the past year because of their sexual orientation, according to GLSEN's 2009 National School Climate Survey of more than 7,000 LGBT students. The report also found that LGBT student who live in states with enumerated anti-bullying policies experienced less victimization based on their sexual orientation and gender expression than in states with generic laws.
While nearly every state in the country has an anti-bullying law, only 10 states have adopted enumerated anti-bullying laws - California, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
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.