Education Dept. ramps up anti-bullying efforts

From The Washington Blade:

Chris Johnson | Oct 26, 2010

The Education Department has issued new guidance to schools and colleges throughout the country in an effort to stave off the bullying of LGBT students.

On Tuesday, Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary of education for civil rights, sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to educators clarifying when student bullying violates federal anti-discrimination laws.

The letter states that while federal statute provides no specific protection against bullying on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, LGBT students are protected on the basis of gender under federal law.

Additionally, Ali states that while federal laws don’t provide explicit protection from bullying on the basis of religion, they do offer protection against the harassment of members of religious groups based on their shared ethnic characteristics.

Federal laws that offer these protections to students include Title IX of the Education Amendmenst of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.

“School personnel who understand their legal obligations to address harassment under these laws are in the best position to prevent it from occurring and to respond appropriately when it does,” Ali writes.

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