Results Show Only 37% of Districts Are in Compliance with Statewide Anti-bullying Law Passed in 2011
Today, One Colorado Education Fund released the results of a scan of school district policies on bullying prevention, nondiscrimination, and harassment.
One Colorado Education Fund is a statewide organization securing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Coloradans. The organization examined district policies to determine if they protected LGBT students, as required by state law. The results of the scan show that 55 of 147 (37%) districts that responded to our request for information include sexual orientation in their bullying prevention policy.
“Comprehensive, enumerated bullying prevention policies make schools safer for all young people,” said Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado Education Fund. “The legislature has done its job, passing a law that protects LGBT young people. But more than 60 percent of school districts have not done their part to ensure that policies are implemented at the local level.”
During the 2011 legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly passed and Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law HB-1254, a bullying prevention policy for the state. The new law clearly defined bullying to protect those students most targeted, including LGBT young people. The law also requires school districts to implement anti-bullying policies.
“Passing legislation in 2011 was only the beginning. We must ensure that school districts across Colorado make sincere and thoughtful efforts to implement anti-bullying policies protecting all students,” said Senator Pat Steadman, the bill’s sponsor.
During the 2008 legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly passed and Governor Bill Ritter signed into law SB-200, a nondiscrimination law protecting Coloradans from discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of one’s race, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation (including transgender status), national origin/ ancestry, creed, marital status, and retaliation. This law applies to schools and explicitly protects LGBT young people from the harassment and discrimination they often face in classrooms across the state.
“All students deserve to go to school free from fear, discrimination, and harassment. It’s shocking that nearly 40 percent of school districts are not in compliance with a 2008 law that seeks to protect all young people, including vulnerable LGBT students,” said Clark.
In fall of 2010, One Colorado Education Fund, the Colorado Association of School Boards, the Colorado Association of School Executives, the Colorado Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers—Colorado called on the state legislature to take immediate action to stop bullying and harassment in Colorado schools. These organizations, and more than a dozen others, are united in their commitment to creating safe school environments for all students.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure that every young person is treated with respect and dignity,” said Beverly Ingle, President of the Colorado Education Association. “School districts across the state should take swift action to update their policies to protect the most vulnerable students in our schools.”