Harassment and Bullying
Harassment is one of the most pervasive, frightening, and potentially damaging threats that LGBT students face in our public schools. According to recent research, three out of four LGBT students were called names or threatened in the past year because of their sexual orientation or gender expression, and 16.5 percent were physically assaulted, such as punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon. Of those students, over half didn’t report the bullying to school staff because they doubted the school would do anything about it—and for 61.6 percent of the students who did report it, their schools did nothing about it.
Under the U.S. Constitution, public schools have to address any harassment against LGBT students the same way they would address harassment against any other student. Federal education law bars public schools from ignoring harassment based on gender stereotyping, so schools have the responsibility to act to stop harassment based on appearance or behavior that doesn’t “match” gender stereotypes, such as boys wearing makeup or girls wearing tuxes. School officials cannot tell you that you have to hide or change who you are or that the harassment is your fault because of how you dress or act.
If you’re being bullied, called names, threatened, or physically harmed at your school because of who you are, you don’t have to take it!
LGBT youth and their parents should feel free to contact us with legal concerns. You can click here to fill out our confidential online form. If the matter is time-sensitive or you feel more comfortable contacting us by phone, you can call (212) 549-2673. This phone number is only for matters involving anti-LGBT discrimination against youth. For help with other LGBT issues, click here. For non-LGBT issues, please contact your local ACLU affiliate.
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- Criminal Justice Reform for LGBT People