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19 States Have LGBTQ Anti-Bullying Laws
GLSEN celebrates the signing of New Mexico’s Safe Schools for All Students Act into Law by Governor Lujan Grisham
New Mexico becomes the 19th state, along with Washington DC, to have a comprehensive anti-bullying law inclusive of LGBTQ students
NEW YORK, NY (April 4, 2019) – GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ students, and the GLSEN Albuquerque Chapter celebrated the signing of Senate Bill 288, the Safe Schools for All Students Act, into law by Governor Lujuan Grisham. The Safe Schools for All Students Act is a comprehensive anti-bullying law that is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. With today’s milestone signing, New Mexico becomes the 19th state, along with Washington DC, to have a comprehensive anti-bullying law that is inclusive of LGBTQ students. The New Mexico Safe Schools Initiative, a coalition of organizations including GLSEN Albuquerque and led by Equality New Mexico, worked for six years to get the Safe Schools for All Students Act passed.
“This Safe Schools for All Students Act signing reflects the hard work of advocates, educators, and students throughout the New Mexico who for years have been pointing to the clear and irrevocable truth that all students deserve to feel safe at school, and to be protected from bullying and harassment,” said Havens Levitt, Chair of GLSEN Albuquerque. “We are grateful to the New Mexico State Legislature and Governor Lujuan Grisham for their support of the Safe Schools for All Students Act, which will go a long way toward creating safer schools for LGBTQ students in New Mexico.”
LGBTQ students in New Mexico face hostile school environments, and most schools don’t currently have supports in place to protect them. According to GLSEN’s 2017 National School Climate Survey New Mexico state-level data, 67% of LGBTQ students experienced verbal harassment at school based on sexual orientation, and 56% experienced verbal harassment at school based on gender expression. Further, 80% of LGBTQ students reported regularly hearing homophobic remarks in school, and 65% reported regularly hearing negative remarks about transgender people.
Additionally, many LGBTQ students in New Mexico did not have access to in-school resources and supports. Only 9% of LGBTQ students attended a school with a comprehensive anti-bullying/harassment policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
“More than 14 years ago GLSEN set out to extend enumerated statewide anti-bullying protections to the students most seriously at risk for harassment and violence in schools, including LGBTQ youth. With this signing, New Mexico has joined the ranks of 19 states and Washington DC that have committed to supporting all students,” said Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN. “As of today, more than twenty-two million K-12 students in the United States attend schools where state law protects them from anti-LGBTQ bullying and violence as well as bullying and violence based on race, religion, national origin, ability and more. At this moment, as hate violence - particularly racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBTQ violence - is on the rise, we want school communities in New Mexico and those 18 other states to recognize that state law, as well as their conscience, compels them to take action to protect those students most directly affected.”
GLSEN's latest policy resource, Respect for All: Policy Recommendations to Support LGBTQ Students A Guide for District and School Leaders, provides education policymakers and practitioners with concrete recommendations related to creating safe and affirming learning environments that uphold the dignity of all students, including comprehensive and enumerated anti-bullying legislation like New Mexico’s Safe Schools for All Students Act.
Havens Levitt, Chair, GLSEN Albuquerque
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GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools, via action at the national, state, and local level. Over nearly three decades of work, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ students across the United States and launched an international movement to address LGBTQ issues in education and promote respect for all in schools. Find more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, school-based programs, research, and professional development for educators at www.glsen.org.