Friday, February 25, 2011

Rally for held for new anti-bullying bill that includes sexual orientation

This from WAVE 3 News:

People from all over Kentucky headed to Frankfort Feb. 23 in an effort to make kids safer. They say they are supporting fairness and celebrating a major victory against bullying.

Kentucky already has anti-bullying laws, but this one is aimed at protecting kids who are being harassed because of their sexual orientation.

The Fairness Campaign took its message to the Capitol, thanking 14 state legislators, all Democratic representatives, nine of whom are from Louisville, for being champions of fairness. The rally comes one day after House Bill 370 passed out of the Education Committee.

Meghan Lampe, now a sophomore at the University of Louisville, testified that she was harassed and called names when she went to Butler High School because she was gay. Lampe said that at the end of her freshman year, she tried to kill herself. Now she has dedicated her life to stop bullying.

"We need fairness to have everyone be equal. We need fairness to push our society forward and I know it will happen because history is on our side," said Lampe to the cheering crowd.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-District 34/Louisville) sponsored the bill that passed out of committee 21-1. When asked about the difference between this and the existing anti-bullying law, Marzian said this one is more specific which she hopes will make it easier to identify bullying and stop it.

This from H-L:

Panel OKs measure to ban bullying of gay students
Bullitt Central High School freshman Aye Jay Long, 14, told a panel of lawmakers on Tuesday that he was continually harassed by his classmates, who called him a "fag" after he told them he was gay earlier this school year.
"I was getting shoved and pushed into lockers," Long said.

He said he once received straight As but now is getting Cs, Ds, and Fs because of the harassment.
His and other students' testimony helped persuade the House Education Committee to approve a bill that would require Kentucky schools to enhance their bullying policies, prohibiting harassment based on sexual orientation, race or religion. The proposal now heads to the House floor for a possible vote...


Anonymous said...

An opportunity for leadership on this issue was lost under Stu Silberman in Lexington, Kentucky. Mr. Silberman was approached on at least two occasions by members of the community eager to see sexual orientation added to its non-discrimination policy. Silberman said "The time is not right and there would too much community opposition." I do hope the FCPS Board of Education will take the lead now that Stu is leaving. Gay and lesbian students have every right to feel included.

Anonymous said...

Yes, an opportunity for leadership was lost on the "gay issue" with Mr. Silberman, who tried so hard to convince us was "about kids"

Mr. Silberman saw diversity in black and white, and made certain he was seem at the front of the line carrying a banner on Martin Luther King Day. You can bet he was a frequent visitor at churches like Bracktown Baptist where the minister serves on the state Board of Education, but I doubt Stu Silberman ever told a gay student he was in sympathy with the suffering that student faced in a homophobic school system. When someone writes the history of FCPS, this chapter on gay rights, may very well be titled "Opportunity Lost."

Allison Bourland said...

The new move against bullying, I think is great. For so long people just accepted bullying as life, and part of the hardships students must go through during their educational career. I am pleased to hear now that it is no longer being tolerated. Especially on the grounds of sexual orientation, bullying is harmful to everyone, and it can be deadly. I do think it will take time and teacher cooperation to put this new bill into effect, but if all educators work together to stop this, regardless of personal beliefs, education will finally become the center/highlight of schooling, which is what it should be.