The Ohio Senate Education Committee will hear testimony tomorrow on Ohio House Bill 116, anti-bullying legislation relating to training and cyber-bullying. Currently HB 116 does not list specific identity categories protected from bullying, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
Schools with enumerated anti-bullying policies have less incidences of bullying and harassment than with generic policies. Fifty-six percent of surveyed teens in Ohio have been bullied based on their gender, disability, race or sexual orientation, and more than 9 in 10 LGBT students in Ohio report being bullied.
I know from personal experience, contacting your senators and representatives does make an impact on their decisions. It only takes about a minute and often times you just leave a message. Watch me call Senate Education Chair Peggy Lehner regarding HB 116:
Call Sen. Lehner at (614) 466-4538 or email her at SD06@senate.state.oh.us, and tell her to include enumeration with sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories in HB116. Sen. Lehner voted for the Equal Housing and Employment Act in the House during the 2008-09 legislative sessions, so please keep the calls positive and supportive.
UPDATE: Advocates for Youth created an online action alert for Ohio’s proposed anti-bullying legislation. Visit Amplify Your Voice to easily send an email to Ohio legislators.