Statement From Attorney General Martha Coakley on Report Today that Romney Administration Blocked Publication of Anti-Bullying Guide Due to References to Transgender and Bisexual Students
“It is highly discouraging to learn that the Romney administration appears to have blocked publication of a state anti-bullying guide due to references to transgender and bisexual students. Through our bullying prevention commission, formed following passage of the new anti-bullying statute, we learned that LGBT students are some of the most frequently targeted students of bullying and harassment. We also heard testimony from numerous LGBT students who have been harassed and bullied due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. For the Romney administration to block a discussion on the impact of bullying on LGBT students was to fail to protect some of our most vulnerable children.
The publishing of the anti-bullying guide by Governor Patrick in 2008 and the passage of a strong anti-bullying law by the legislature in 2010 shows that progress has been made. But more is left to be done. Our commission made recommendations to update the anti-bullying law, including implementing a school-based reporting mechanism and requiring schools to recognize that certain students – including LGBT children – are particularly vulnerable to bullying and the impact of bullying. We are hopeful of working with the Legislature to pass these recommendations in the current legislative session.”
Statistics on impact of bullying on LGBT students
One recent study of LGBT middle and high school students found that in the past year, because of their sexual orientation:
- Eight of ten students had been verbally harassed at school;
- Four of ten had been physically harassed at school;
- Six of ten felt unsafe at school; and
- One of five had been the victim of a physical assault at school.
Another study found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers