GLSEN Applauds Mass. for LGBT-Inclusive Anti-Bullying Law
Gov. Deval Patrick Signs Legislation Making Massachusetts 17th State to Enact Enumerated Anti-Bullying Law
NEW YORK – April 24, 2014 – GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, and its GLSEN Massachusetts chapter today lauded Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick for signing into law a measure that will strengthen anti-bullying protections for LGBT students.
"As the 17th state to pass inclusive anti-bullying legislation, Massachusetts is sending an impactful message to its LGBT youth," said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN's Executive Director. "LGBT students in Massachusetts can feel confident their educators are committed to providing them with the safe and inclusive school environments they deserve. GLSEN looks forward to the day when every student in every school in the country can feel just as supported."
H. 3909, "An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools," will update existing anti-bullying legislation by requiring every district to include specific protections in their bullying prevention plan recognizing frequently targeted groups, including LGBT youth.
The legislation will also implement two key methods of tracking incidences of bullying: a student survey to be conducted every four years gathering information about school safety and climate, and a data collection and reporting mechanism allowing officials to better measure and evaluate the impact of anti-bullying efforts.
The Massachusetts House and Senate approved the bill in February and March, respectively. Gov. Patrick, a longtime supporter of bullying prevention initiatives such as a limited 2010 law designed to help educators report, prevent and address bullying, signed the bill in a ceremony today.
"As we celebrate this great victory for LGBT youth across Massachusetts I thank our partners at GLSEN for their decades of leadership on LGBT issues in K-12 schools," said Kara Coredini, Executive Director of MassEquality. "Their pioneering work laid the foundation for today's advance. They were with us every step of the way in this campaign with critical research, technical assistance and connections to other education organizations that helped build the power of our coalition."
Massachusetts is the 17th state plus Washington, D.C. to enact an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying law. The signing in Massachusetts comes just two weeks after Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a similar anti-bullying measure into law.
"We hope the success of the Act Relative to Bullying in Schools signals to the rest of the country that it's time to defend all students against bullying, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression," Byard said.
About GLSENGLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & 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.