An antibullying policy being considered for West Virginia schools is drawing both praise and opposition for its inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as examples of unjustified reasons for harassment.
The Associated Press reports that the 75-page student conduct and disciplinary policy, which will be voted on December 14, lists 12 common reasons a child could be bullied, including race; color; religion; gender; ancestry; national origin; socioeconomic status; academic status; physical appearance; and mental, physical or developmental disability.
It's the inclusion of gender identity or expression and sexual orientation that have some groups, such as the Family Policy Council, labeling the policy "dangerous and expansive."
"They're trying to force a lifestyle that a majority of the people of West Virginia do not want their kids exposed to. It undermines their values and their religious teaching," said its Kevin McCoy, the president of another organization, the West Virginia Family Foundation.
Other goups, like Fairness West Virginia, have praised the move. "Teachers may feel they're putting their reputation or job at stake by protecting a student," said its executive director Bradley Milam. "But now, they can simply point to the policy."
If approved, the policy changes that acknowledge LGBT students will go into effect July 1.