3Center for American Progress | Comprehensive Federal Approach Needed to Create Safe Schools for All Students
schools o say ha bullying o LGB sudens will no be oleraed, i sends a signal opoenial bullies ha hey will be punished or heir acions, ha his ype o bullying isno oleraed, and ha LGB sudens are valued members o he communiy.o make sure all sudens in every sae have a sae place o learn, ederal legislaion haclearly includes LGB sudens is needed.
Federal authority to intervene on civil rights violations
While Congress considers ederal anibullying legislaion, he Obama adminisraion isalready using legal ools o remedy hosile environmens ha oser violence and harass-men direced a LGB sudens. Curren law gives he ederal governmen he auhor-iy o invesigae and inervene on a suden’s behal because sexual harassmen againsLGB and gender nonconorming sudens consiues acivil righs violaioni i “cre-aes a hosile environmen and such harassmen is encouraged, oleraed, no adequaely addressed, or ignored by school employees.”Boh ile IV o he Civil Righs Ac o 1964 and ile IX o he Educaion Amendmens o 1972 make i illegal o discriminae based on sex, including boh sex-ual harassmen and discriminaion based on gender nonconormiy. Te EducaionalOpporuniies Secion o he Civil Righs Division a he Deparmen o Jusice, incoordinaion wih he Deparmen o Educaion, has he auhoriy o invesigae viola-ions o righs provided hrough ile IV and ile IX. Any educaional insiuion,including possecondary schools, ha receive ederal nancial suppor are required o be in ull compliance wih civil righs laws ha proec sudens rom harassmen anddiscriminaion.DOJ has indicaedha invesigaing violaions o hese wo provisionsis a op prioriy.
How the Obama administration has already helped
DOE sen a leter o school disricsin Ocober 2010 making hem aware o he specicprovisions in ile IV and ile IX ha enile sudens o anibullying proecions. Inhe leter, he Assisan Secreary or Civil Righs provided examples o harassmen(including ani-LGB behavior) ha violae civil righs laws, ariculaing ha gender- based discriminaion alls wihin he deniion o sex discriminaion i a suden is“harassed eiher or exhibiing wha is perceived as a sereoypical characerisic orheir sex, or or ailing o conorm o sereoypical noions o masculiniy and eminin-iy.” Furher, he deparmen reieraed is responsibiliy or enorcing hese laws, andencouraged school disrics o be more proacive by publicizing policies and proceduresregarding harassmen and acing o proec a harassed suden even i ha suden doesno le a complain.