HRC Blog

Department of Education Releases New Report on Bullying

Post submitted by Josh King, Former HRC Senior Public Policy Advocate

Today the Department of Education released a report entitled “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policiesreviewing state and school district policies related to anti-bullying and harassment. In the report, researchers sought to understand the components of state and local anti-bullying measures in addition to finding out how state laws are reflected in practice.

While the report found that 46 states have some type of anti-bullying laws, there is also a great discrepancy in the inclusion of enumerated categories covered under many state and local policies. At present, only twelve states explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  One additional states explicitly cover only sexual orientation. Fourteen states explicitly prohibit bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

HRC has been advocating for two pieces of federal legislation that would help remedy this issues. The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) prohibits any school program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from discriminating against any public school student on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) would require schools and districts receiving federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The SSIA would also require that states report data on bullying and harassment to the Department of Education.  For more information on where your members of Congress are on these issues, please visit HRC’s website here

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