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Report: Majority of school districts lack LGBT anti-bullying policies

Craig Clough | July 16, 2015

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Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner

A majority of American school districts have no policies protecting LGBT students from bullying, with California also coming in on the low-end, according to a new report that looked at the anti-bulliing policies of districts across the nation.

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) analyzed the policies of 13,000 districts in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 2008-11 and found that 30 percent lacked any anti-bullying policy at all, and of the 70 percent that do, only half included protections for LGBT students.

In California, 54.9 percent of districts have specific LGBT anti-bullying policies, which ranks ahead of seven other states, according to the report. LA Unified is one of the districts that has such a policy, as the school board passed a specific LGBT anti-bullying resolution in 2011.

The report stated that GLSEN believes “that if LGBT students are not made aware of explicit protections provided to them their ability to fully exercise their rights when experiencing bullying and harassment may be limited.” It also said research showed that “students who believe that their schools have LGBT-inclusive policies experience better school climates.”

With the report ending its analysis in 2011, it is likely that some districts have added LGBT anti-bullying policies or will have in the future, as LGBT rights and acceptance have become widespread around the country. For example, in 2011, President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other leading progressives still opposed a federal policy legalizing gay marriage and have since changed their stance.

The report also comes amid a string of recent historic victories for the LGBT community, including the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide and even the acclaim and praise heaped on former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who this week received ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award after coming out publicly as a transgendered woman. Jenner dedicated a portion of her speech to the bullying many LGBT children face.

“If someone wanted to bully me, you know I was the MVP of the football team and that just wasn’t going to be a problem. And the same thing goes tonight,” Jenner said. “If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”

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