Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Included in Senate Anti-Bullying Bill

In August, the “Safe Schools Improvement Act” was introduced in the U.S. Senate, echoing a bill that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last year. The act, if passed, would require schools that receive federal funds to adopt anti-bullying policies and codes of conduct that prohibit physical and verbal harassment and bullying. Although the Texas Education Code already includes anti-bullying language, it does not specifically identify what groups are protected. The federal law would provide comprehensive and standardized protection to all students throughout the country, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Montrose Counseling Center supports the “Safe Schools Improvement Act,” to make schools safer for GLBT and Questioning youth. Through a partnership with Houston Independent School District and Communities in Schools Houston, MCC launched the Safe Zones Project. Now in its second academic year, therapists go to participating Houston-area high school campuses to offer behavioral health screening, affirming group support, and individual/family therapy. If you know of a student who is being harassed or who is struggling, he or she may request help through their Communities in Schools representative.