A second Dallas Independent School District trustee spoke out publicly this week in support of a bullying policy that provides specific protections for gay and transgender students.
Trustee Bernadette Nutall, who represents District 9, said she’s asked DISD staff to draft a proposed policy that protects as many categories of students as possible, including those who may be bullied on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Nutall joins trustee Lew Blackburn among those who’ve publicly stated their support for an LGBT-inclusive bullying policy.
The district has been considering a new bullying policy, but as originally drafted by the DISD administration, the proposal didn’t include specific categories of students that would be protected.
Jon Dahlander, a spokesman for the district, suggested last week that a new bullying policy isn’t necessary because DISD already has an anti-harassment policy that includes sexual orientation.
But Nutall disagreed.
“Harassment is bullying, but how many kids come home and say, ‘Mom, I was harassed today’?” Nutall told Instant Tea on Wednesday, Oct. 27. “Can’t we just keep it simple?
“I think we need to be very clear, if you mistreat someone because they are different or because they’re not like you, there are consequences for your actions,” Nutall said.
Nutall said she was bullied as a child and currently has a daughter in middle school in the district. She also said she’s a devout Baptist but believes people need to set aside their personal beliefs.
“Ultimately you have to protect all people whether you agree with them or not,” Nutall said. “It’s not about that, it’s about you have the right to be who you are.”
Nutall said she’s forwarded to district staff copies of policies from places like Broward County, Fla., and Philadelphia that include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Despite likely opposition from the religious right, which is fighting LGBT-inclusive bullying policies nationally, Nutall is confident her proposal will receive support from a majority of the nine-member DISD board when the policy comes back up for a vote, which is expected to be sometime in November.
“I think I have the five votes,” Nutall said. “I do believe it’s going to pass without a problem.”
LGBT advocates have encouraged people in the community to contact their trustees and urge them to support a fully inclusive police. Contact info for trustees is listed on the DISD website.