(Editor’s note: My friend Jason Howe at the ACLU/SC sent me this guest blog by the terrific openly gay James Gilliam, ACLU/SC’s deputy executive director, before today’s Boy Scout and Stop SB 48 news, though it all seems inter-related. I’ve previously reported on the ACLU/SC’s Seth Walsh Project (now called the LGBTQ Student Rights Project), but Seth’s Law went into effect on July 1 so it’s important teachers, students and school officials investigate the resources to help them prevent school bullying —Karen Ocamb)
Hey, California Schools – We’ve Got Big News!
By James Gilliam, Deputy Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California
Over the past few years, the nation has been involved in a thought-provoking dialogue about stopping the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in schools.
While everyone seems to have a different opinion about the best way to address the issue, here in California we passed Seth’s Law (AB 9), putting stronger protections in place to ensure that all students have the ability to obtain the harassment-free education to which they are entitled.
As of July 1, Seth’s Law requires members of school personnel to intervene to stop bullying when they see it. It’s a simple concept, but one that doesn’t always come to reality in the classroom. In fact, LGBTQ students report that teachers only intervene to stop bullying between 4-14% of the time.
We know how important it is for teachers and other adults to address bullying when they see it because, otherwise, it sends a signal throughout the school community that such conduct is OK. Indeed, as one contributor to the It Gets Better Project explains, “If the teachers aren’t even reinforcing ideas of equality and respect for everybody, how can anyone expect for teenagers or youth to carry that with them when the teachers aren’t around.” Read the full story here.
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