State Justice Applauds State Board of Education
Safe schools regulations will protect marginalized and vulnerable
Free State Justice, Maryland's leading organization working for
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights, today applauded
the State Board of Education and its members for adopting new
safe schools regulations that will protect vulnerable students.
The vote was 8 to 3 in favor of the new regulations.
"The regulations passed today will ensure that all students
in school systems around the State will be protected from harassment
and discrimination," said Jon A. Kaplan, Executive Director
of Free State Justice. "Those students who are identified
as especially marginalized and vulnerable will not slip through
the administrative cracks."
The regulations passed today create a list of specifically-protected
classes of students who are excessively vulnerable to teasing,
bullying, harassment and discrimination. Race, ethnicity, region,
religion, gender, sexual orientation, language, socioeconomic
status, age and disability are all categories of students protected
by the new regulations. Prior to today's vote, those regulations
stated only that "all" students should be protected
from harassment and discrimination in state schools, language
that was ambiguous and ineffective, according to Free State and
many other experts in the field.
"These regulations will grant teachers and administrators
throughout the State the authority to stand up for the most susceptible
youth, including gay and lesbian students, with the knowledge
that the State Board of Education stands behind them," Kaplan
said. "The regulations make it clear that teasing, harassment
and mistreatment in and around the classroom for any reason is
The regulations do not affect the curricula taught in school
systems in Maryland.
FSJ has been working for passage of safe schools regulations
for more than two years. "Today, it has been proven that
the system works," Kaplan said. "Several versions of
the regulations have been proposed over the past several years,
and the regulations passed today are a version over which the
Board of Education and the people of Maryland have reached consensus."
"The process was followed, the public was heard, and the
State Board of Education has done the right thing," Kaplan
Free State Justice is Maryland’s largest civil rights organization
focusing on making life better for gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender citizens of the state. Free State Justice can be found
online at www.freestatejustice.org .
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