Post submitted by Karin Quimby, former HRC Deputy Directory, Project One America

This week the Louisiana House of Representatives voted against HB 112, which would have established a minimum standard for public school anti-bullying policies and prohibited the harassment, intimidation and bullying of a student by another student in public elementary and secondary schools.  HRC members and supporters in Louisiana joined those from the Forum for Equality and other advocates who want to keep students safe in school to successfully pass the bill out of committee.  Unfortunately, the conservatives in the house voted down the final bill.  You can find out how Louisiana representatives voted here.  HRC will continue to work with Forum for Equality and other advocates to help ensure the bill is reintroduced next year.

Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting bullying, harassment, and/ or discrimination in schools on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.   Inclusive anti-bullying laws protect not only LGBT children, but also children who are perceived to be LGBT, and the children of LGBT parents. Addressing inclusion, respect, and safety makes a difference. According the US Department of Education, a major source of conflict in schools stems from perceived or actual bias and unfair treatment of students because of ethnicity, gender, race, social class, religion, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, and physical appearance. Both children who are targeted and children who exhibit bullying behavior have lower academic achievement in school. In contrast, students who feel they are more supported in school and at home generally have higher achievement levels. Anti-bullying laws make a very real difference in the everyday lives of students.

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