Monday, April 26, 2010

Illinois Passes Anti-Bullying Bill

From The Advocate:

With a vote of 108-0, the Illinois house of representatives Friday passed a bill requiring schools to adopt policies prohibiting bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and several other characteristics, according to the LBGT rights group Equality Illinois.

The state senate passed the measure earlier this month, with only two votes against it, and it now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is expected to sign it into law.

The legislation also requires schools to offer students training in how to resist bullying and take other reasonable steps to stop harassment.

“Students who are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are particularly vulnerable to bullying,” said Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov. “And the attempted suicide rate among LGBT students, which is as much as three times higher than the general average, presents alarming evidence for just how urgently we need this law. This was a no-nonsense bill, and I am so glad that it sailed quickly through both chambers of the legislature.”

Equality Illinois was one of the early supporters of the legislation. Other groups that worked for it include the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and Illinois State Board of Education.

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