Washington State Passes LGBT-Inclusive Student Anti-Harassment Bill
March 8, 2010
In a victory for students, last week the Washington State Senate passed HB 2801, a bill to address bullying and harassment of students in public schools -- including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The Senate vote was 48 - 0 and the bill had previously passed the House 97 - 0. Governor Christine Gregoire has pledged to sign the bill into law. More information is available from our friends at Equal Rights Washington. Once the bill becomes law the following will take place:
- School district must ensure their anti-harassment policy and procedures adhere to a minimum standard based on the bill's model policy.
- Each school district will create a structure to manage harassment and bullying complaints with a staff member assigned as a primary contact for those circumstances.
- The districts will then publish their policies and procedures online to make it clear how to handle the complaint procedure.
- The office of the education ombudsman will be the lead agency to provide resources and tools to parents and families about public school antiharassment policies and strategies.
The bill follows up on recommendations from a 2008 study commissioned by the legislature to address bullying [pdf]. Congratulations to the safe schools advocates across the state -- in particular Equal Rights Washington -- for this important measure to ensure all students are protected.
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