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September 12, 2008

School district includes
LGBTs in anti-bully rules

School district includes LGBTs in anti-bully rules

Brecksville, Ohio--A Cleveland area school district has recognized sexual orientation bias as a problem for its students and wants to do something about it.

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District included LGBT students in its anti-bullying rules in July.

All Ohio school districts are required to enact anti-bullying policies in this school year by House Bill 276, which passed in 2006.

While that measure doesn’t spell out the groups that are covered--which critics said might lead school officials to believe that LGBT students aren’t--school systems can include them in their own rules.

Most are not covering LGBT students, but Brecksville-Broadview Heights is.

The district added the protection as an administrative guideline that does not need Board of Education approval. It was developed by Superintendent Thomas Diringer.

“A major source of conflict in many schools is the perceived or real problem of bias and unfair treatment of students because of ethnicity, gender, race, social class, religion, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, physical appearance or some other factor,” the directive says.

“Students who have been treated unfairly may become scapegoats and/or targets of violence. In some cases, victims may act in aggressive ways.”

“Effective schools communicate to students and the greater community that all children are valued and respected. There is a deliberate and systematic effort in establishing a climate that demonstrates respect and a sense of belonging,” the directive states.

The school district serves 4,700 students in southwest Cuyahoga County.

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