W.Va. Aiming to Protect LGBT Students from Bullies

A proposed anti-bullying policy for West Virginia schools acknowledges that sexual orientation and gender identity are common reasons for harassment.
 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A proposed anti-bullying policy for West Virginia schools acknowledges that sexual orientation and gender identity are common reasons for harassment.

The state Department of Education is taking public comments until 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 8, about the 75-page student conduct and disciplinary policy that the Board of Education will consider Dec. 14.

If approved, changes that specifically acknowledge the targeting of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students would go into effect July 1, 2012.

The civil rights group Fairness West Virginia lauds the new language as "a landmark achievement." It says the policy effectively provides political and legal cover to teachers and others who might hesitate to help a student.

But the Family Policy Council calls it "dangerous and expansive." It says bullies should be identified by their actions, not their victims.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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