- Passage was eight years in the making
(Tallahassee) After 8 years of effort on the part of hundreds of students, parents, educators and civil rights groups, The Florida Safe Schools Coalition celebrates the passage today of a statewide anti-bullying bill.
During today's unanimous vote, Senators zeroed in on the issue of whether the broad prohibition on bullying requires schools to address specific forms of harassment, including anti-gay bullying.
Senator Nan Rich asked, "Does the bill prohibit harassment based on a student's actual or perceived disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, physical appearance, sexual orientation or other distinguishing personal characteristic in the exactly the same way that it prohibits sexual, racial or religious harassment, which are specified in the bill?"
"Yes it does," said Senator Baker, the bills sponsor.
In so doing, sponsors in the House and Senate made clear the legislative intent requires schools to ensure those protections at the local level.
"Today's passage of the anti-bullying law represents the culmination of an eight-year effort by a strong coalition of over 100 organizations dedicated to the safety of Florida's students," said Nadine Smith, Executive Director for Equality Florida. "The legislature has made clear that any school that fails to prevent and respond to anti-gay bullying and to protect every student will be in violation of this law and will face the consequences. We will hold them accountable."
More . . . Anti-bullying bill passes House and Senate
Meanwhile, on the religious front . . . .
- Methodists hold line on homosexuality
FORT WORTH, Texas | Representatives of the United Methodist Church turned back attempts to liberalize its policy on homosexuality Wednesday. Almost 1,000 delegates to the church's General Conference rejected a committee proposal, leaving in place the position that the practice of homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching."