Thursday, July 21, 2011

Miami-Dade School District Adds Gender Identity Protections

The Miami-Dade school district -the fourth largest in the nation - today joined other districts across the state of Florida in protecting students from bullying based upon gender identity or sexual orientation.

The move by the Miami-Dade school board to add gender identity to its anti-discrimination and harassment policy was greeted with praise by both Equality Florida and the Miami-Dade Safe Schools Coalition who have been working diligently for years to pass such protections. Equality Florida, in a statement on its website, recognized that their victory was not just based upon lobbying the school board, but also because of grassroots activism. Saying, 
In addition to working closely with the 30+ organizations that make up our Miami-Dade Safe Schools Coalition, Equality Florida has also been on the ground in Miami-Dade schools, training students to lead Gay Straight Alliances (GSA’s) and training their adult GSA advisors. Currently, nearly 40 Miami-Dade GSAs are part of our Florida GSA Network, one of the fastest growing state networks in the nation.
But Equality Florida, noting that this move only covers 1.55 million of the states schoolchildren (60%), recognizes that more work needs to be done on the issue of LGBT bullying and harassment. Equality Florida Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer reiterated this point when he said, 
 "This is a tipping point for the state but our work continues until every school district large and small provides these vital protections."

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