Making Public Schools Safer for LGBT Students

MAKING PUBLIC SCHOOLS SAFER FOR LGBT STUDENTS: NEW REPORT OFFERS MENU OF POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS AND MODEL LEGISLATION

“The mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students is worse today than many might realize, and far too often involves school personnel that ignore the problem and in some cases make the situation even worse,” says Stuart Biegel, report co-author.

September 30, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:
Cathy Renna, 917-757-6123, cathy@rennacommunications.com

Washington D.C. – A new report documents the persistence of hostile and unsafe school environments that can result in lower educational outcomes and higher rates of depression and suicide for LGBT students.

The report, Safe at School: Addressing the School Environment and LGBT Safety through Policy and Legislation, contains a series of key policy recommendations to ensure schools are welcoming and safe for LGBT students. These recommendations cover areas such as school climate, curriculum, and the particular role of school sports in defining a school’s culture.

The report also contains model legislation for state legislatures to adopt, including general prohibitions against bullying, harassment, intimidation in schools, and sections addressing teacher education and professional development.  “The addition of a Model State Code to the analysis and recommendations in the report will encourage state legislatures to adopt a comprehensive and tested set of statutes to help remedy the problems of discrimination in our schools,” said report co-author Sheila Kuehl, a former State Senator from California.

The overarching purpose of all recommendations from the report is to make schools safe and improve the quality of life for everyone within our education system. “In this area, educators are not required to change their personal values or religious beliefs,” said Stuart Biegel, author of a new book on the subject. “However, all students must be treated with equal dignity and equal respect by school officials, both under the law and as a matter of morality and common decency.”

Jointly released by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education, the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, and the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, the report is being formally release today at the National Education Association (NEA) headquarters.

The full report is available at: http://www.law.ucla.edu/WilliamsInstitute/home.html.

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