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DoE Issues LGBT-Inclusive Classroom Bullying Toolkit

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The U.S. Department of Education is providing teachers nationwide with guidance to help combat bullying against ALL students, including LGBT youth.

The new free toolkit is a collaborative effort between the federal government and education groups. Right now, it includes two separate modules designed to assist concerned educators identify bullying behaviors and find ways to create an inclusive classroom environment.

The first module specifically says that LGBT students and those perceived to be gay are among the biggest bullying targets. The second instructs teachers to encourage positive relationships between peers DESPITE their differences, which may include sexual orientation. It also reminds faculty members to consider that some students are unfamiliar with LGBT people.

Robert McGarry is the director of education for GLSEN–the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. He says it’s “great” the Department of Education has “gotten to this point” of inclusivity.

McGARRY: You know, you can’t really have an effective anti-bullying program in schools if you don’t address LGBT issues. And so, we’re really pleased that the LGBT issues are a part of this toolkit and feel really confident that it’s going to be an effective tool for supporting educators who want to create safer and more affirming school spaces.

McGarry says he believes the next step should be including LGBT themes in school curriculums and not relying on isolated lessons.

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