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Oregon schools tighten anti-bullying policies
One in three school district anti-bullying policies still do not comply with state law.
Over 70 Oregon school districts changed their anti-bullying policies last year to better protect students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, but nearly one in three school districts still does not comply with state
law, a new report has found.
With support from a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Public Health Law Research program awarded to the Oregon Public Health Division, the Oregon Safe Schools & Communities Coalition (OSSCC) in partnership with the Oregon Public Health Division, Q Center and OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon collected and examined school district policy information from nearly all of Oregon’s 197 school districts. School districts were evaluated based on how well the district policies complied with the amended Oregon Safe Schools Act. The state law, passed with leadership from Basic Rights Oregon in 2009 and amended in 2012, strengthened protections for students who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender or are targeted because of their gender identity. The evaluation process gave school districts gold, silver, or bronze stars, based on how well they met the legal requirements and recommendations of the amended Oregon Safe Schools Act. Compared to last year, the number of school districts recognized with a gold or silver star more than doubled: • 67 school districts received gold stars because they were compliant with the law and expressly referenced gender identity and expression as a protected class. Last year, 43 school districts got a gold star. • 60 school districts received silver stars because they were compliant with state law but do not expressly reference gender identity as a protected class as recommended by the revised safe school model policy. Last year, 12 school districts got a silver star. • 55 school districts need to update or modify their anti-bullying policies to comply with Oregon law. • 15 school districts do not have policies or did not respond to requests to provide them and do not provide them online. Other research, referenced in the report, has shown that one in five lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer youth in Oregon have attempted suicide in the last year and that more than half were harassed at school in the last thirty days.
For more information, incl uding a list of how your local school districts fared in 2013, go to http://www.oregonsafeschools.org/wp-content/uploads/SafeSchoolsReport_2013_pages_v5.pdf. ###