UTAH: GOP State Sen. Chris Buttars Wants To Repeal Anti-Bullying Rules

Republican state Sen. Chris Buttars has introduced a bill that would repeal the Salt Lake City school board’s recently instituted anti-bullying rules. Pride In Utah reports:

Speaking at a meeting for the anti-gay group Eagle Forum, Buttars said: “We’re in big trouble in our public education system. I didn’t realize how much until a month ago when I was asked to chair public education appropriations,” said Buttars. “We met and when we got done we were all so terrified we couldn’t believe it. This was right under our nose.” “By accepting that, there’s no God because he deals in absolutes,” said Buttars. “This is an entire program to bring America down and I want to tell you right now it’s well entrenched in Utah.” Other speakers at the Eagle Forum called the anti-bullying and non discrimination policies a “Socialist and Communist plot to take over children.”

Pride In Utah will stage a protest rally at the Utah Capitol Building on January 24th, the first day of the legislative session.

RELATED: We’ve heard from Buttars before. He has called the “sexual perversion” of homosexuality “the greatest threat to America I know of.” Buttars also wants to eliminate the 12th grade because kids know everything they need by then. And in 2008 when referring a bill that would increase funding to minority school districts, he said, “This baby is black. It’s a dark, ugly thing.”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Utah: mean-ass state senator Chris Buttars seeks repeal of school anti-bullying laws

How petty, small, mean, and bigoted does someone have to be to want to roll back protections for children in schools? Look no further than Turd Extraordinaire Chris Buttars. (Pride in Utah):

Senator “black babies are dark and ugly things” Chris Buttars was recently named as chair of the State Public Education committee, despite his call in 2010 to eliminate the 12th grade as “unnecessary.” It appears he plans to use his latest position of power as much possible in his war against civil rights. His proposed resolution, SJR 1, strips the State School Board of the power to make changes to their policies unless they are already provided by statute. In other words, take away the protections for straight and LGBT kids from bullying, and the non-discrimination rules for district employees.

And here is the money quote from Buttars, who seems to have difficulty with church/state separation:

“We’re in big trouble in our public education system. I didn’t realize how much until a month ago when I was asked to chair public education appropriations,” said Buttars. “We met and when we got done we were all so terrified we couldn’t believe it. This was right under our nose.”

“By accepting that, there’s no God because he deals in absolutes,” said Buttars. “This is an entire program to bring America down and I want to tell you right now it’s well entrenched in Utah.”

You can read his bill here.

NOTE: PRIDEinUtah will hold a rally on the opening day of the Utah Legislative session –January 24th, at 5:30pm in the rotunda of the Utah State Capitol Building.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Just How Helpful Was BET’s 106 & Park Anti-Bullying Special?

Last week BET aired a "Stop Bullying" special on weekday video show 106 & Park. They had the requisite experts. The requisite teens. The requisite mothers. All in all, it was a decent start for the Viacom-owned network to continue the conversation about bullying to a majority black audience, which, like LGBTs at large, often get ignored by mainstream media outlets. That's changing, and it's efforts like this special that are helping. And while I didn't find anything useful to come out of the mouths of these experts, I do appreciate BET giving a voice to kids who deal with being ostracized and harassed by classmates.

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Queerty

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Minn. School Board Passes Strong Antibullying Curriculum

STUDENTS GENERIC HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROM X390 (PHOTOS.COM) | ADVOCATE.COMThe Minneapolis school board passed a unanimous resolution Tuesday that strengthens the LGBT curriculum and anti-bullying efforts.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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New Jersey Enacts Nation’s Toughest Anti-Bullying Law

The following is from HRC Staff Counsel Aaron Welo:

Following the news of suicides of teenagers across the country and the all too common theme of anti-LGBT bullying, the state of New Jersey took a major step forward today by enacting the nation’s toughest anti-bullying law.  The tragic death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi accelerated the coalition that passed this legislation, which was originally introduced in 2009.  While nothing can make up for the loss of these young lives, New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights provides a blueprint for action across the country to address bullying and harassment and bolster the mental well-being of LGBT young people.  The new law was signed by Governor Chris Christie after passing the Legislature with only one dissenting vote.

While New Jersey previously had an anti-bullying law on the books, like the anti-bullying laws in states across the nation, it lacked the necessary specificity and requirements to combat anti-LGBT harassment.  In addition to mandating specific procedures that must be taken by school officials when bullying occurs, the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights also expands coverage to public universities across the state.  Most current anti-bullying laws are based on models that give broad discretion to local school districts, rather than requiring that specific, meaningful action to identify and resolve cases of bullying.  The new law also requires that every school district have an anti-bullying coordinator in every district, an anti-bullying specialist in every school and grades each school on how effectively it combats bullying.  The new law also extends to extracurricular activities, buses, and cyber-bullying.

HRC commends Garden State Equality, allies in the state legislature, and Governor Christie for their leadership on this issue.  States across the nation should follow New Jersey’s lead and enact similarly strong laws that protect all of our children.  This is an issue that transcends partisan bounds and reaches our core promise to our children of having access to a good education in a safe environment.

The complete text of the new law is available at:  www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/A3500/3466_R1.HTM.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Thanks for an amazing year at RCD

LGBT, HIV communities should be prepared for new challenges in 2011

What a year! Who could have predicted all the twists and turns it has taken, or the events that galvanized our country and united our communities?

IMG_1262
HELL FREEZES OVER  | A member of the Phelps clan from Westboro Baptist Church protests outside Resource Center Dallas in July. A counterprotest fundraiser organized by RCD netted more than $11,000 to buy a new ice maker for the agency’s hot lunch program. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

So much happened in 2010 involving Resource Center Dallas, and none of it could have occurred without the strong support of the HIV/AIDS and LGBT communities in North Texas.

Looking back, I am filled with gratitude and wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you. Here’s what you helped us accomplish:

• Dallas Area Rapid Transit expanded its nondiscrimination policy to include gender identity, in the wake of news stories about the discrimination experienced by a transgender bus driver;

• RCD joined forces with the Kaiser Family Foundation, Dallas County Health and Human Services, and AIDS ARMS to bring the “Greater than AIDS” campaign to Dallas, highlighting services available to people living with HIV/AIDS and promoting HIV prevention;

• DFW International Airport expanded its nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity, following a request from RCD and Fairness Fort Worth;

• A fundraising counterprotest against a “church” from Kansas brought out hundreds of community members in a rainstorm and netted more than $11,000 to buy a new ice maker for our HIV/AIDS clients’ hot lunch program;

• Following advocacy by RCD, Lambda Legal, LULAC and a coalition of other community groups, the Dallas Independent School District adopted a first-of-its-kind-in-Texas comprehensive, enumerative antibullying policy that covers not only LGBT students, but all students;

• We partnered with 138 community groups, including the Tarrant County Health Department and the Urban League of Greater Dallas, in the “Stomp Out Syphilis” campaign; administered over 3,100 HIV tests; and delivered HIV prevention messages to more than 8,600 people;

• We completed diversity training for all 700-plus employees of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage commission statewide — the first time a state agency conducted this training for all its employees;

• And, we served more than 21,500 weekday lunches and provided about 29,000 visits to our food pantry for our HIV/AIDS clients in 2010 — distributing more than 350 tons of groceries.

These accomplishments, funded while the economy remained sluggish and both the need and demand for our services continued to increase, show the generous nature and support of our communities and allies. Each and every one of you who got involved deserves recognition and a deep, sincere thank you — especially the more than 1,100 people who volunteered at RCD in 2010.

As we stand on the cusp of another year, we do not know what opportunities for change will be presented. Clearly, the political landscape has shifted, and the new realities in Washington and Austin will provide opportunities and challenges for the LGBT and HIV communities.

One key area — funding for ADAP (AIDS drug assistance programs), medical care and social services for people living with HIV — will be an issue for Texas lawmakers already grappling with a large budget deficit.

The movement toward marriage equality will continue in the federal courts, as well as state legislatures. Even though “don’t ask, don’t tell” is coming to an end, work needs to be done so that gay and lesbian members of the military can serve openly — and, there remains a prohibition on openly transgender members of the armed services.

Over the past year, the LGBT and HIV communities responded to issues as they developed. We made phone calls, wrote letters, spoke truth to power, and rallied. We donated our time to organizations quietly and without thought of recognition. We sent our dollars in to provide economic support to organizations that share our values, focus and interests.

What 2010 teaches us is that we must be ready to meet whatever challenges we encounter. Resource Center Dallas will be there, engaged on behalf of not only our communities but all North Texans. We’ll continue to develop partnerships across the region, because the issues of HIV, discrimination and equality don’t respect city limits or county lines. And, we’ll be turning to the communities again for your help and support.

Playwright and author Thornton Wilder reminds us, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

Throughout this year, you and our work with and for you kept us fully alive and conscious of our shared treasure. For that, and the opportunity you offer us to serve you and our communities, Resource Center and I say thank you. And Happy New Year!

Rafael McDonnell is strategic communications and programs manager at Resource Center Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 31, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

NEW JERSEY: Anti-Bullying Bill Passes Overwhelmingly In Both Chambers

Today the New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly approved a new anti-bullying bill. Passage of the law gained momentum in the wake of the suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who threw himself from the George Washington Bridge after his dorm mate live-streamed a gay sexual encounter over the internet. The bill passed 30-0 in the state Senate and 71-1 in the Assembly.

The bill (A3466) would require training for most public school employees on how to spot bullying and mandate that all districts form “school safety teams” to review complaints. Superintendents would have to report incidents of bullying to the state Board of Education, which would grade schools and districts on their efforts to combat it. Administrators who do not investigate reported incidents of bullying would be disciplined, while students who bully could be suspended or expelled. School employees would also be required to report all incidents they learn of, whether they took place in or outside of school.

The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Chris Christie.

(Tipped by JMG reader Brian)

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Watch: ‘At 13′, A Spoken Word Anti-Bullying Performance by Kenneth Morrison

Morrison

Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, the filmmakers behind the documentary Out in the Silence (I posted about them previously here), produced this powerful spoken word piece from Kenneth Morrison.

At13 They write, in the HuffPost:

"This heart wrenching spoken word piece by Kevin Morrison, filmed in our home base in Washington D.C., lays bare what it feels like for a 13-year-old to be rejected by his family, ridiculed by his church, and called the f*ggot by his peers. To feel like he was dead on the inside. To believe that there was no other way out than to take a knife to his veins."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Which Of These Dueling ‘Better Project’ Anti-Bullying Campaigns Will Triumph?

On Sept. 23 writer Dan Savage formally launched the "It Gets Better Project," a video series aimed at reaching LGBT kids to let 'em know school bullying will eventually end, and they'll have greener pastures to look forward to. Yesterday the Gay-Straight Alliance Network formally launched the "Make It Better Project," which, according to a release, will "give youth the tools they need to fight back against anti-LGBT bullying and make schools safer for LGBT youth" and "includes a website and YouTube channel where students and adults can upload video messages to share what they are doing to prevent suicide and make it better for LGBT youth in schools now." So that won't be confusing at all.

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—  John Wright

Watch: Dan Savage Launches Anti-Bullying YouTube Project

Savage

"It gets better."

That's the message Dan Savage wants to send to LGBT and questioning youth in America who are being bullied, with the launch of a YouTube channel to which he hopes people will contribute.

Writes Dan:

I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.

“You gotta give ’em hope,” Harvey Milk said.

Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it gets better. Online support groups are great, GLSEN does amazing work, the Trevor Project is invaluable. But many LGBT youth can’t picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can’t imagine a future for themselves. So let’s show them what our lives are like, let’s show them what the future may hold in store for them.

Watch Dan and Terry's video, AFTER THE JUMP

Instructions for submitting your own video are here.



Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright