April 18, 2011
>Hawaii House of Representatives Passes Enumerated Anti-bullying Bill
>By GLSEN Public Policy Intern Kathryn B.
Hawaii students are no strangers to the terrible impact bullying can have on their schools. Michael Gooch volunteered for extra classwork whenever he could in order to avoid groups of people who bullied him. Valery Ishimoto skipped school after she became the target of cyberbullying. Gini Gustafson suffered health problems when the bullying got particularly bad.
But now Hawaii lawmakers are acting to protect students like Michael, Valery, and Gini. This week a strong anti-bullying bill passed through the state House. It will now move to a joint committee to agree on final language and then will move back to both the House and Senate for final passage and signature from the governor.
GLSEN is especially excited about the enumeration of sexual orientation and gender identity included in this bill. Enumeration means the listing of protected categories, such as bullying based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. Enumeration is especially important for protecting LGBT students to make it clear that anti-gay bullying is specifically prohibited under the law. In fact, according to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey, when LGBT students reported bullying, about 34 percent of the time staff did nothing at all in response. Enumerated policies are critical because they remove all doubt that LGBT youth are protected from bullying and harassment.
Do your part to make Hawaii the 12th state in the US with a strong, enumerated anti-bullying law! Call Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie at 808-586-0034 and ask him to come out in support of protection from bullying and harassment for ALL students. Students like Michael, Valery and Gini need your help!
Kathryn is currently a senior at American University, majoring in public communications while also pursuing a certificate in advanced leadership studies.