Earlier this week, the Senate Committee on Education in Hawaii unanimously passed HB 819, a comprehensive anti-bullying bill that provides specific protection for LGBT students. The Human Rights Campaign provided testimony in support of this legislation. The bill will now be considered by the Senate Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees. The bill has already passed the Hawaii House.

“Bullying and harassment has often increased adverse effects on marginalized students, including those who identify as LGBT,” HRC Senior Legislative Counsel Alison Gill testified. “A national survey of LGBT youth showed that nearly 75 percent of LGBT students experience verbal or physical harassment in school. LGBT students who experienced high levels of victimization were three times as likely to be absent from school and had grades on average a half a grade lower than their peers.”

The deck is stacked against young people growing up LGBT in America and the impact of family rejection, bullying, and daily concern for safety weighs heavily on our youth. HRC’s groundbreaking report, Growing Up LGBT in America, found that LGBT youth are twice as likely as their peers to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at school.

HRC thanks Equality Hawaii for their leadership in advocating for this critical bill and urges lawmakers in Hawaii to swiftly pass this bill to ensure that all youth in Hawaii are protected from bullying and harassment.

For more resources on safe schools and bullying prevention, click here.

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