The long-running dispute over the right of students to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at Carver Middle School in Lake County, Florida, is headed to trial in federal court this week before a Nixon-appointed judge, the Honorable William Terrell Hodges. For some background on the saga, check out the short local news video and the list of earlier Youth Allies posts (below).
Nevertheless, I am inspired by the tenacity and courage of the students, their families, their attorneys, and their many other allies. I wish them much luck (though they shouldn’t need it) as they continue their work to overcome the misunderstandings, misinformation, unfounded fears, hostility, and bias that have run rampant in Lake County over this issue. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has reached a settlement with Mississippi’s Moss Point School District in a case involving Destin Holmes, a student who faced anti-LGBT bullying and harassment not only by classmates but by faculty and administrators. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.
There was great news last week for safe-schools and LGBT-equality advocates in Massachusetts, where the governor signed a measure strengthening the state’s anti-bullying law.
The many advocates who worked for the bill’s passage—including the organization Mass Equality and state Attorney General Martha Coakley—deserve wholehearted thanks and congratulations from those who believe in safe schools for all youth. Still, it’s worth pointing out an inaccuracy that appears in statements issued by the law’s supporters as well as in the media. Some advocates, journalists and bloggers have suggested that the law requires schools to single out specific groups, including LGBTQ students, for special protections. This is incorrect, though I recognize that the law may appear ambiguous on this point, at least at first glance.
Clarifying this issue may help prevent confusion among those who must work to implement the law; it may also help ensure that, moving forward, safe-schools advocates who favor inclusive policies don’t inadvertently feed into anti-LGBT talking points. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.
Safe-schools advocates and LGBT-equality supporters can celebrate in Minnesota: The state legislature has approved the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act, a major expansion of the state’s safe schools law. The governor plans to sign the bill today.
The Act requires school districts to enact anti-bullying policies, and it defines bullying to include, among other things, intimidating and abusive conduct based on a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.