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Dept of Education: Schools without Anti-bullying programs may loose funds

October 26, 2010

US Department of Education

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) — Schools that fail to address the bullying of gay students may lose U.S. funds for not enforcing gender-discrimination laws, the federal Department of Education said.

Federal officials for the first time encouraged schools to address such behavior as harassment using civil-rights statutes enacted from 1964 to 1990 that protect students from discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, disability or gender, the department said today.

The announcement clarifies that protections extend to gay, lesbian, and transgender students who are harassed for “failing to conform to sex stereotypes,” Russlynn Ali, the assistant education secretary for civil rights, said during a conference call yesterday. “We are not creating new policy,” she said.

Courts have held that gender stereotyping of gay people may be a violation of civil-rights law, Ali said.

“We must get directly involved when bullying crosses a line and becomes discriminatory harassment,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters on a conference call today.   via Bloomberg.com.

The Department of Education is reacting to the many cases of bullying that have led to suicides across the country by teens who’ve endured torturous bullying in the schools.  There are over 20,000 schools that fall within the jurisdiction of the DofE including many universities.  The more aggressive stance by the Department of Education is based on laws used during the Bush administration to force schools to put into place anti-discrimination policies for race and religion.  This is an extension of that interpretation to include Gay bullying.