One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and their families, released the following statement from Executive Director Daniel Ramos on a new publication that reports on school districts’ anti-bullying efforts for LGBTQ students in Colorado over the past six years.
The report, Safe Schools for LGBTQ Students: A Look Back at Colorado’s Anti-Bullying Efforts, includes data from Colorado’s 178 school districts and their efforts to adopt anti-bullying policies to ensure all students — including LGBTQ students — feel safe, welcome, and empowered in their schools. This report also highlights how many students across the state have access to Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in their school.
“Since 2011, with the passage of House Bill 1254, we have seen significant investment in bullying prevention efforts in Colorado. It is encouraging to see the progress Colorado has made, with over 80 percent of school districts dedicated to protecting LGBTQ students. We’ve also seen an increase in education and support for administrators and educators to combat bullying in our schools. However, it is clear a number of school districts in our state have yet to update their policies that would dramatically improve the lives of LGBTQ young people and school climate.
“We know bullying is still prevalent in our schools, both in urban and rural areas, and LGBTQ young people are still among the most vulnerable to harassment and violence. One of the first ways school districts can tackle this issue is to make sure their policies explicitly enumerate protections for students based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. One Colorado’s report shows that in addition to comprehensive anti-bullying policies, allowing students access to Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), supportive educators, and LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum can create a more supportive environment for young people.
“By issuing reports like this, One Colorado hopes schools will make it a priority to ensure all students are successful, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We hope students and parents in places without updated policies will work with their school districts to make sure their anti-bullying efforts are LGBTQ-inclusive. The report also serves as a resource to help school districts identify the greatest needs of LGBTQ young people, and focus the necessary resources required to address them, in ways that are most effective.
“One Colorado is dedicated to a future where every young person in our state has a school environment where they feel safe, welcome, and empowered to make change. It is important we continue to work with school districts, administrators, educators, and students to build a climate across our state where LGBTQ students can be out and respected in their schools.”