bullying

Minnesota Safe Schools Bill Becomes Law

In the wee hours of April 9, the Minnesota House of Representatives took the final vote on the Safe and Supportive Schools Act. That afternoon Governor Mark Dayton signed it into law.
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Safe Schools Letter Campaign Concludes with Nearly 30 Organizations Standing Together to Say Students Deserve Better

The letter-a-day campaign for safe schools that PFAW led concluded today, when we also marked the Day of Silence – an annual event organized by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that is meant to draw attention to the "silencing effects" of anti-gay harassment and name-calling in schools and to be a way for students to show their solidarity with students who have been bullied. Over the last month twenty-eight groups went on record with Congress in support of safe schools legislation. Together, we sent loud and clear the message that all students deserve far better than what they're getting when it comes to bullying and harassment in schools.
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On the Day of Silence, Check Out PFAW’s New Safe Schools Policy Toolkit

Today is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence, an event meant to bring attention to the “silencing effect” of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. In classrooms across the country, thousands of young people will stay silent throughout the day as part of an annual student-led effort that has been occurring since 1996.

In anticipation of the Day of Silence, People For the American Way recently released a new policy toolkit, Education Without Discrimination: Creating Safe Schools for All Students, which provides activists with the tools they need to advocate for critical safe schools reforms. The toolkit includes lobbying and media tips, talking points, sample materials, and background info on the lead federal legislation, the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).

Unfortunately the Religious Right continues to rail against commonsense legislation like SSIA and SNDA that would help make our schools safe for all students. Right-wing activist Gordon Klingenschmitt has warned that the Student Non-Discrimination Act would “give homosexuals and perverts protected status” and “mandate pro-homosexual recruiting of kids in public schools.” Just this week, Mission America’s Linda Harvey – who once claimed that anti-bullying programs would turn schools into “indoctrination camps” – publicly encouraged young LGBT people to stay in the closet.

To learn more about how to stand up to these hateful attacks and push for positive change, check out the safe schools toolkit.

PFAW

The Five Worst Religious Right Claims About Safe Schools Initiatives

In honor of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence today – an annual event meant to draw attention to the “silencing effects” of anti-gay harassment and name-calling in schools – Right Wing Watch is re-releasing a collection of some of the most troubling recent claims from the Religious Right about safe schools initiatives.

Relying on harmful myths depicting LGBT people as abusive and “perverse,” it is clear from these examples that the Religious Right is far more interested in pushing homophobic lies than in protecting and supporting all students through commonsense legislation. Our elected leaders face a stark choice between protecting students and siding with the dangerous and hateful lies of the far right.

5. Gordon Klingenschmitt: Al Franken is 'Causing More Suicides' by Backing Anti-Bullying Bill (January 2012)

Previously, Gordon Klingenschmitt accused Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of “homosexualizing kids” and acting like late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il over his efforts to pass legislation geared at preventing bullying because Franken and other progressives have “deified sin as their god.” Now, Klingenschmitt is accusing Franken of “causing more suicides” for sponsoring the anti-bullying bill. “Teen suicide is tragic enough without Senator Franken recruiting more kids into homosexuality, which causes depression, self-hatred, self-rejection and self-murder,” Klingenschmitt writes, “Franken's plan will result in more teen suicides, not less.”

4. Linda Harvey Warns That Anti-Bullying Programs Will Turn Schools Into ‘Indoctrination Camps’ (November 2011)

Linda Harvey of Mission America urged voters to oppose the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act, warning that such anti-bullying legislation was “using bullying prevention as a tool to force approval of homosexuality and gender bending on children, teachers and families.” On her radio show, Harvey urged members of her Ohio-based group to contact Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman to oppose what she called the “promotion of these lifestyles to kids brought into schools in the Trojan Horse of anti-bullying programs.” She went on to say that schools will be turned “into indoctrination camps” in order “to fulfill the fondest wishes of those who want traditional morality to disappear” if the safe school legislation passes.

3. Public Advocate: Congress Using Schools ‘To Force The Homosexual Agenda’ On Children (April 2011)

Religious Right groups consistently try to tarnish anti-bullying initiatives by labeling them as “homosexual indoctrination” and “special rights,” among other absurd claims. A Religious Right group called Public Advocate and led by Virginia politician Eugene Delgaudio launched the “Protect Our Children’s Innocence” petition to protest the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which it labeled the “Homosexual Classrooms Act.”

2. Gordon Klingenschmitt Says ‘Sick and Perverse’ Student Non-Discrimination Act Will Legalize ‘Sexual Assault’ (April 2012)

After President Obama announced his support for the Student Non-Discrimination Act, Gordon Klingenschmitt went back on the attack against the anti-bullying bill, warning in an email message that the “sick and perverse” legislation will “give homosexuals and perverts protected status,” “mandate pro-homosexual recruiting of kids in public schools,” promote “child abuse” as “homosexuals will have full control of classrooms” and even allow for harassment and “sexual assault.”

1. Sandy Rios: Schools No Longer Teach Reading and Writing, Now Just Promote Homosexuality (April 2013)

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios hosted Linda Harvey of Mission America to criticize the Day of Silence, the anti-bullying event which Harvey has previously described as dangerous and blasphemous.

Rios, who once said that test scores are dropping as a result of schools “teaching” homosexuality, kicked off the program by arguing that public schools no longer instruct students in subjects like “reading, writing, cursive, spelling, grammar [and] punctuation,” but are instead completely dedicated to “cramming, twisting, perverting all academic subjects to the way of supporting homosexuality.”

 

Linda Harvey Attacks Anti-Bullying Day Of Silence For 'Dishonoring God'

Mission America’s Linda Harvey keeps pressing on in her war against the Day of Silence and used her daily radio bulletin today to warn that the event will encourage students to “take on” a “high-risk life that dishonors God.”

Harvey told listeners to pull their kids from school on that day to avoid exposure to the protest against anti-LGBT bullying, warning that children will otherwise have to encounter “pro-homosexual propaganda” and face other students “recruiting” them.

Because of alarming and deceptive messages surrounding the Day of Silence, many Christian groups — Mission America included — are urging parents to keep your children home from school that day unless you have assurances that the school is not bending its rules. Some schools allow student organizers to widely promote the Day of Silence and homosexuality while recruiting others to participate. Here’s why I say it’s deceptive: the Day of Silence is sadly a day of pro-homosexual propaganda in schools.

Students pledge to remain silent all day in order to protest what they believe has been the silencing of homosexuals and bullying that isn’t being punished, those who choose to be homosexual or switch genders are the victims and we’re all bullies or potential bullies if we don’t accept this premise. But we should not accept this premise because it wrongly communicates that homosexuality is honorable and respectable and that it’s inborn like race. But that’s’ not true. No one, especially young people, should take on this identity and behavior. It’s a high-risk life that dishonors God and the way He created us.

African American Ministers in Action Featured This Week in Safe Schools Letter Campaign

The letter-a-day campaign for safe schools that PFAW is leading just finished another week, and now twenty groups have gone on record with Congress in support of safe schools legislation. Together, we are sending loud and clear the message that all students deserve far better than what they're getting when it comes to bullying and harassment in schools. PFAW's own African American Ministers in Action was one of this week's highlights.
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Anti-Gay Activists: Day Of Silence Is 'Medical Malpractice,' 'Silences Conservatives'

Conservative groups including the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and Liberty Counsel are urging parents to keep their children at home on April 11, the annual anti-bullying Day of Silence, in order to avoid exposing them to protests against anti-LGBT bullying.

Mission America’s Linda Harvey and Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, an AFA affiliate, discussed the boycott plans on Harvey’s weekend radio show, where Harvey claimed that the Day of Silence actually represents “medical malpractice.”

“This is educational malpractice, it really is, and it really should be medical malpractice,” she said of gay rights advocacy, “especially when you have HIV rates and the other hazards we know that are out there for kids.”

Higgins added that public school educators “censor” anti-gay activists by citing concerns about “safety, or whatever that is,” and said that their curriculum “violates any kind of principles of sound pedagogy.”

Harvey warned that the Day of Silence helps LGBT and allied students feel “empowered in very inappropriate ways,” to intimidate others: “The Day of Silence, the real silencing going on is not the so-called LGBT students, the real silencing going on is conservative and Christian thought.”

“What’s dishonest about this movement is they don’t acknowledge that their end goal is not ending bullying, they’re using that; their end goal is to eradicate conservative moral beliefs or to make it socially, politically impossible to repeat them,” Higgins said. “This is dishonest to say this is just about bullying, this is really and truly about silencing conservatives.”

Safe Schools Letter Campaign Wraps Another Week, Twelve Groups Have Gone on Record

The letter-a-day campaign for safe schools that PFAW is leading just finished another week, and now twelve groups have gone on record with Congress in support of safe schools legislation. Together, we are sending loud and clear the message that all students deserve far better than what they're getting when it comes to bullying and harassment in schools.
PFAW

PFAW Releases New Policy Toolkit on Safe Schools

For too many students, school is not a safe place. More than six in ten LGBT students have felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and more than four in ten because of their gender expression. Losing their sense of safety means that they lose access to the quality education all students deserve.

In anticipation of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s Day of Silence on April 11, an annual event to highlight the silence created by anti-LGBT harassment in schools, today People For the American Way released a new policy toolkit, Education Without Discrimination: Creating Safe Schools for All Students.



 

From talking points to sample lobbying letters to social media resources, the toolkit is designed to help you understand and advocate for the critical legislation that has been introduced in Congress to address this problem, including the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

Together we can send a loud and clear message to Congress: all students deserve safe schools.

PFAW

Harvey: 'Anti-Child' 'Gay-Stapo' Is Bullying Youth, 'Corrupting Children'

Writing today in BarbWire, Mission America head Linda Harvey claims that LGBT rights groups and “vicious homosexual bloggers” are the real bullies, while Christian students are increasingly the victims of “troubled ‘gay’ adolescents whose destructive actions went unpunished.”

Instead of disciplining these gay bullies, Harvey says, schools are instead embracing bullying prevention programs from the “gay-stapo” who are “corrupting children with misinformation and hyperbole about bullying, all laced with explicit ‘gay’ sexual messages” in their “mandated ‘LGBT’ indoctrination” courses.

“The real tragedy is that these groups in reality exploit vulnerable and fragile kids, all the while espousing great compassion and, disingenuously, ‘tolerance’ as a motive,” she writes. “And let’s just be frank: there’s one type of bully in the current climate almost never held accountable: the verbally combative homosexual, lesbian or cross-dresser who taunts and insults others.”

Harvey says anti-bullying efforts are part of the left’s “war” on religion: “But if anyone thinks these desperately discontented people will stop their assault at Christians, think again. First, they came for the Christians and the children….”

The Human Rights Campaign now says RFRA bills are a “license to discriminate.” That’s their take on the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for millions of Americans.

It’s essentially a declaration of war.

First Amendment rights shouldn’t be controversial. What’s astounding is the notion that “gay” behavior must be honored by force if necessary, even as marriage.

Or as respectable identities for children. But “anti-bullying” policies are now perceived as essential in public schools nationwide and are often a cover for mandated “LGBT” indoctrination and suppression of any objections.



Activists both inside and outside America’s schools are pushing kids toward homosexuality and gender change while demonizing conservative values that would steer them elsewhere. The teacher’s unions are on board, and the gay-stapo hopes no concerned parent or astute student recognizes that hand grenades are being thrown into the school environment. Critics of current religious freedom bills might want to take a look at the behavior of activists at the schoolhouse before they dismiss those measures as “unnecessary.”



Using disruptive, anti-child advocacy, the Human Rights Campaign (promoters of the grade school gender confusion program, “Welcoming Schools”) and GLSEN (sponsor of the victim-posturing “Day of Silence,” held in April in public schools) are busy corrupting children with misinformation and hyperbole about bullying, all laced with explicit “gay” sexual messages.



The real tragedy is that these groups in reality exploit vulnerable and fragile kids, all the while espousing great compassion and, disingenuously, “tolerance” as a motive. And let’s just be frank: there’s one type of bully in the current climate almost never held accountable: the verbally combative homosexual, lesbian or cross-dresser who taunts and insults others. In the adult world, this is personified by vicious homosexual bloggers who spread lies, distortions, and have called me and others vulgarities I’d never attribute to my worst enemy, but to them, it’s their daily bread. How these people have gotten any traction is beyond unbelievable. They’d never last two weeks in the corporate environment.

Then there are students who fall into this category. I know of several situations where life was made a living hell for peers by troubled “gay” adolescents whose destructive actions went unpunished.



But if anyone thinks these desperately discontented people will stop their assault at Christians, think again. First, they came for the Christians and the children…

Safe Schools Supporters Make Strong Showing for Launch of Letter Campaign

PFAW recently launched a letter campaign urging members of Congress to support safe schools legislation. Along with six allies who also sent letters this week, and those who will soon join us, we are making a strong showing for the idea that all students deserve far better than what they're getting when it comes to bullying and harassment in schools.
PFAW

People For the American Way and Allies Tell Congress, "Stand up for Safe Schools"

Today People for the American Way sent a letter to every member of Congress urging their support of the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA). We are joined by twenty-four other safe schools supporters also sending letters to Congress. Each of us has taken a day to tell the House and Senate that this issue is not forgotten, that quality education means education without discrimination.
PFAW

Klingenschmitt: 'Al Franken Wants To Require Pedophilia In All Public Schools'

Anti-gay activist and self-proclaimed exorcist Gordon Klingenschmitt, who last week endorsed Russia’s “homosexual propaganda” law, sent out an email to members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project today with yet another insane screed attacking the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

After falsely claiming that Russia is merely “banning pedophilia,” Klingenschmitt said the anti-bullying student Non-Discrimination Act, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), should be called the “‘No Child Left Unmolested’ amendment.” He charged that the bill is “child abuse” because it is “legislating pedophiles to recruit your kids.”

“Al Franken (D-MN) wants to require pedophilia in all public schools, in the form of mandatory pro-gay lectures to all public school children,” Klingenschmitt writes. “Russia bans child-recruiting, but Al Franken wants to require pro-gay child recruiting.”

Stop Sen. Al Franken from homosexualizing public school classrooms. Stop federal curricula to kids. Please select, sign, and WE WILL FAX your petition to all 535 members of Congress (saving you time!) to filibuster Franken's "No Child Left Unmolested" amendment to Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Free option here.

Russia never banned gays, just child-recruiting by pedophiles

Contrary to nearly all reports by the American lame-stream media, which falsely claim Russia has strict laws banning homosexuality, the opposite is true.

Russia has never passed a law banning homosexuality.

Russia did, however, pass a law by a 436 to 0 vote forbidding adults from recruiting children into sexual deviancy. Wouldn't you vote for that?

In America we call that banning pedophilia. But Senator Al Franken (D-MN) wants to require pedophilia in all public schools, in the form of mandatory pro-gay lectures to all public school children.

Russia bans child-recruiting, but Al Franken wants to require pro-gay child recruiting.



Do you want Al Franken legislating pedophiles to recruit your kids? Let's petition all 535 Congressmen and Senators to STOP Franken's child-abuse.

Harvey: Schools 'Selling Gay Behavior To Kids'

On her radio show today, Linda Harvey said that the real problem facing students today isn’t bullying, but anti-bullying programs that are “selling gay behavior.”

Harvey cautioned parents to keep an eye out for the efforts of the anti-bullying group GLSEN, which she said will be using pledge cards, posters, t-shirts, signs, and all kinds of merchandise as part of a “re-education” plan to “pressure” students during Ally Week.

“It’s not appropriate for schools to allow this since, once again, it’s a backdoor way to get people to give approval to known high-risk, immoral, troubling behavior,” Harvey claimed, telling schools to prevent students from participating in Ally Week since “no responsible organization or school should be selling gay behavior to kids in the first place.”

New documentary revisits the climate change we all should want

It was February 12, 2008. 15-year-old Lawrence “Larry” King, who had begun openly exploring a female expression of his gender identity, and 14-year-old Brandon McInerney were in a computer lab at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, California. With the flash of two gunshots, Larry was off to the hospital, fighting for his life in a battle that he would soon lose; and Brandon was under arrest, later tried as an adult and sentenced to 21 years. Never would their teacher and their classmates be the same.
PFAW

Anti-Bullying Protections Headed to Senate Floor

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to bring the bill to the floor but has not released a date. People for the American Way will continue to monitor ESEA’s progress and the anti-bullying provisions it contains.
PFAW

Student Non-Discrimination Act Sorely Needed in Our Nation’s Schools

“I stopped going to school four months before graduation because I couldn’t handle the bullying anymore. I will not get to attend my senior prom, and…throw my graduation cap in the air.”

Harassment and bullying in schools are widely understood to be pervasive nationwide problems.  But as the above quote from an LGBT student highlights, for LGBT young people the situation can be especially severe.  Yesterday the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in public schools, was both reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and included in Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) proposed education bill updating the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. 

Studies show that this kind of legislation is sorely needed. The most recent Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network National School Climate Survey found that in the past year alone, more than eight in ten LGBT students had been verbally harassed because of their sexual orientation and more than six in ten because of their gender expression.  The majority of students who were harassed did not report it to school staff, believing that nothing would happen if they did – or that the situation could get even worse. 

As one student shared,

“Bullying in our school is mostly verbal, but it hurts just as much as any physical pain… Teachers rarely do anything about it.”

Those who were harassed frequently had lower GPAs and were less likely to say they planned to go on to college or other post-secondary education.  Many LGBT students reported missing class because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, with nearly one in three LGBT students missing at least one full school day in the past month.

When harassment at school is associated with missed classes, lowered grades, shifted educational ambitions, or even depression, it can have long term implications for the wellbeing of LGBT youth.  No student should face this kind of hostility at school because of who they are or who others perceive them to be.

PFAW

Bradlee Dean Has Epic Meltdown over Minnesota's Gay Marriage Law

Minnesota-based Religious Right activist/rock star Bradlee Dean went ballistic on his radio show yesterday in response to his state’s new marriage equality law. Dean warned that Gov. Mark Dayton, who signed the same-sex marriage bill into law, is at “war with God” and is “about to find out what it’s like as to what the fallout is when you throw rocks towards God, he’s going to learn how gravity works.” He added that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who backed his state’s marriage equality law, and other pro-gay rights “criminals” will face divine justice as well: 

Dean even seems to believe that every gay person in the country showed up for yesterday’s celebration of the marriage equality law in order to “push their propaganda and their agendas on the American people,” just as Saul Alinsky commanded.

“They come from all over the country to do this so what you’ve seen was probably the whole lump of the population of the homosexual community in the United States of America,” Dean said.

After lamenting about the “pansies” in the Minnesota legislature, Dean and his co-hosts began discussing the “Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act,” an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying bill, which he said is proof that “radical homosexuals” are part of a “UN global agenda” to “destroy the family.”

Dean then channeled his inner-Antoine Dodson and claimed that gays are coming after your wife and kids: “Go home, look at your wife and look at your kids, because now that’s what they’re coming for.”

He even lashed out at “my good friend Alex Jones,” who is apparently not anti-gay enough for Dean, despite his belief that chemicals in juices are turning kids gay.

Dean concluded the show by warning that gay rights advocates are creating a “totalitarian system” by pushing the anti-bullying legislation, fearing that “pharmaceutical giants” might diagnose anti-gay activists as mentally ill.

“The conservatives on the airwaves in Minneapolis are sitting there playing games with the homosexuals because they think it’s a puppy to be played with when in fact it’s a stinking water rat filled with rabies,” he concluded.

Thanks to RWW reader Matthew for the tip!

PFAW Joins Over 80 Ally Organizations in Calling for Support of Student Non-Discrimination Act

Today People For the American Way joined with more than eighty other national and state organizations in sending a letter to all members of Congress asking for support of the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).  SNDA, which was reintroduced in the House today by Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), would prohibit discrimination and harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools. 

As the letter notes, the need for this type of legislation is profound:

“A 2011 study of more than 8,500 LGBT middle and high school students across the US found that eight out of ten reported experiencing harassment at their school within the past year based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and three-fifths said they felt unsafe at school because of who they are. Nearly three in ten skipped at least one day of school within the previous month because of concerns for their safety. Most tragically, LGBT youth face significantly increased risks for suicide related to mental health issues that often arise from poor treatment and discrimination in schools.”

Today a Florida eighth grader named Bayli put a face on these alarming numbers, telling the Huffington Post that her friends regularly face bullying because of their sexual orientation:

“Watching it tear apart my friends is what scared me the most. It's not right, I don't like it, and I don't [like seeing] my friends going through it.”

PFAW has long spoken out on the pervasive problem of bullying, including tracking the work of right wing anti-anti-bullying activists.  With the majority of LGBT young people reporting that they do not feel safe in their own schools, the need for action only continues to grow.  Discrimination and harassment of LGBT youth has no place in our nation’s classrooms. 
 

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