Safe Schools Bill Passes in Oregon
June 1, 2009
Ed. Note: This post from HRC volunteer leader CM Hall in Portland, Oregon. Back in 2001, I was a co-founder of the Oregon Safe Schools & Communities Coalition. The organization still actively trains education professionals and administrators as well as law enforcement officers and community leaders and educates about anti-LGBT bias and prevention. At the same time, I worked at Basic Rights Oregon when we first attempted to get a Fair Schools/Anti-Bullying bill hearing through the Legislature. Back then, just the thought of acknowledging LGBT-anything explicitly seemed really taboo and tenuous. Now, to see the 2009 Oregon Legislature come through with a victory for all students by passing the Oregon Safe Schools Act so that every student--be they actually lesbian, gay, bi, trans, genderqueer or gender-nonconformant, or questioning, or even those just perceived to be so will be treated fairly and safely is a grand success. Hurrah! This is a real victory for all Oregon's students. I understand that change takes time and with this bill's passage, we are taking a strong stand that bullying, harassment, and intimidation have no place here in Oregon's educational institutions. As I went back to review some of the old testimony from our first attempts with a fair schools bill, I can see how far we've come to arrive at a binding understanding that each student will be valued for their inherent worth and dignity. That time has arrived! Congratulations to Basic Rights Oregon for all their hard work.