harassment are serious problems in the public schools of
Ohio, Florida, and Texas, according to a study released
Wednesday by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight
The data showed that nearly one third
of Texas students report that some students are
bullied, called names, or harassed often because
they're perceived to be gay.
GLSEN chose Ohio, Florida, and Texas because
none of those states have comprehensive antibullying
laws. In working to pass those laws, GLSEN often
discovers that lawmakers don't believe there's a
problem in their state.
"Everybody in America would like to think that
their state is somehow different, and what we're
finding with these state reports is, they're really
not," said Kevin Jennings, executive director of GLSEN.
"That no state has a monopoly on tolerance, and no state has
a monopoly on bigotry."
The survey numbers also show that there are
500,000 self-identified gay and lesbian students in
those three states. He hopes the studies "wake people
up" to the problem of harassment against gay students.
"If there was a half a million students at risk
and the term was not 'gay or lesbian,' there'd be
public outrage," he said. "I hope there'll be the same
kind of public outrage and that we won't somehow allow
gay and lesbian students to be victimized in a way we would
never allow quote-unquote 'ordinary kids' to be
victimized." (Sirius OutQ News)