Bipartisan support shows consensus to address school harassment
HARTFORD – GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network,
and its GLSEN Connecticut Chapter praise the passage of both an enumerated anti-bullying
bill that specifically addresses school harassment based on sexual orientation
and gender identity as well as a non-discrimination bill that protects transgender
people in jobs and public accommodations, including schools.
“GLSEN Connecticut thanks the Connecticut legislature for taking an important
step in ensuring our schools are safe, welcoming and free of violence for all
students,” said GLSEN Connecticut co-chair Leif Mitchell. “We thank
committee chairs Rep. Andy Fleischmann and Sen. Andrea Stillman for strengthening
this bill by adding specific categories of students most often targeted by bullying.”
The anti-bullying bill lacked enumeration when it came out of committee, but
specific mention of the characteristics of students most often targeted by bullying
were added by the Joint Education Committee, after hearing testimony from GLSEN
Connecticut and other advocates from the Connecticut Safe Schools Coalition.
The passed bill includes, but is not limited to, bullying based on race, religion,
disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, and includes protections
against cyberbullying as well as training for educators.
With Governor Dannel Malloy’s signature, Connecticut will become the
13th state to enact an anti-bullying bull that includes protections based on
sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Research shows enumerated bullying policies are essential to addressing anti-LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying. Broad support for such policies
in states like Connecticut has fueled optimism that the federal Safe Schools
Improvement Act, introduced in both the Senate and the House, also will become
"While we celebrate a historic victory for the youth of Connecticut, the
somber reality is that youth in most states still do not have adequate protections
from bias-based bullying. The bipartisan support in Connecticut sends a strong
message to Congress that political differences cannot and should not stand in
the way of swift, comprehensive action to address bullying," said GLSEN
National Executive Director Eliza Byard.
The 12 other states with anti-bullying laws that include protections based
on sexual orientation and gender identity are Arkansas, Colorado, California,
Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont
The non-discrimination bill will add transgender protections to the state’s
anti-discrimination laws that apply to jobs, housing, public accommodations
and schools. GLSEN Connecticut, under the leadership of the ctEquality coalition,
supported the bill. Signing of the non-discrimination bill will make Connecticut
the 11th state (in addition to Washington, DC) to protect students from discrimination
based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national
education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established
in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and
accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive
contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For
information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy,
student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.
GLSEN Connecticut is an accredited Chapter of GLSEN. For more information about
GLSEN Connecticut, visit http://www.glsen.org/connecticut.