Report: Staff also taunt gay students (NY Blade, 11.4.05)

Report: Staff also taunt gay students
New York Blade News
4 November 2005

Both students and staff in city schools harass gay students, a nonprofit group announced last week in a published study. In a survey sponsored by Advocates for Children, about a third of the students reported being called names daily and 26 percent said they had been hurt or threatened. “I was so scared to go to class because I would be picked on,” said Daniela, a 20-year-old transgender man who graduated in June from Bushwick High School, but had to fight to wear girl’s clothes and use the girl’s bathroom. As reported by Newsday, the Department of Education has launched bias and diversity sensitivity training for staff. “We do not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in our schools,” said department spokesman Keith Kalb. Critics have called the training into question and blasted Mayor Michael Bloomberg for not putting into place the Dignity for All Student Acts after his veto was over-ridden by the City Council last year. “You have a climate that is hostile to LGBT in every school in this city, and when you have peer pressure enforced by an administration that’s hostile, it drives students to drop out of school,” said Pauline Park, chair of the New York Association or Gender Rights Advocacy. Advocates for Children conducted the survey last school year, interviewing 75 current students and dropouts. The survey also included students who were not gay but were perceived to be.

This article originally appeared in the 4 November 2005 issue of the New York Blade News, which is now defunct.

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