Monday, September 8, 2008

"Respect for All" in New York City Schools

As the New York legislature considers a landmark safe schools initiative, New York City's Republican Mayor, Michael Bloomberg (pictured), has stepped ahead of state lawmakers and enacted a city-wide program that seeks to make classrooms safer for, and more respectful of, Manhattan's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

Gay City News reports that Bloomberg has joined forces with Speaker Christine Quinn (who we profiled earlier here) and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to put the "Dignity in All Schools" Act into action. On September 3, NYC students arriving for their first day of classes received a pamphlet, titled "Respect for All," which explained the initiative, which "requires posters in all schools explaining: how students and staff can report bullying; that schools must report the complaints to the Department of Education within 24 hours; how the process for investigation, including contacting the families of accused students, will work; and what measures are in place for intervention and counseling," according to the News.

As The New York Times noted, the initiative has been praised by PFLAG, including our New York City chapter president Drew Tagliabue, who told The New York Blade that "“We meet lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students whose academic performance suffers and whose physical safety is threatened by hateful and intimidating words and actions in the schools."

For more information on PFLAG's safe schools work, click here.

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