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Model Policies: State Policies That Make Schools Safer
GLSEN supports the adoption of strong anti-bullying laws at the state level that specifically protect students from bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. While every state has an anti-bullying policy, only 18 states and D.C. specifically list (or "enumerate") sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. GLSEN's goal is that anti-bullying policies are enumerated at the state, district, and school level. We know that students who attend schools with enumerated policies report feeling safer in schools, hearing fewer homophobic or offensive remarks, and seeing educators intervene in instances of bullying more frequently. States that require school districts to report data on bias-based bullying can be even more successful in crafting targeted solutions and fostering safer school climates.
GSLEN supports the passage of non-discrimination laws at the state level that specifically enumerate "sexual orientation" and "gender identity and expression." Where anti-bullying laws look at how students interact with other students, nondiscrimination laws apply to how students interact with schools and school systems. Currently, 12 states and D.C. have laws that protect students from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, while one state enumerates only sexual orientation.
While states can be influential in passing strong nondiscrimination laws, much of the work of enacting nondiscrimination policies falls to schools boards. Partnering with the National Center for Transgender Equality, GLSEN published a comprehensive Model Transgender District Policy that provides school districts with information that can help them create safe and affirming environments for transgender and gender nonconforming students, including policies that affect gender ID markers on schools identification, dress code policies, bathroom and locker room policies, and more.