The Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed an enumerated anti-bullying bill April 23 that includes protections from bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
The Senate passed the bill last month.
The bill now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is expected to sign the measure and make Illinois the ninth state to enact an enumerated anti-bullying law that includes a list of characteristics most often targeted by bullies. Research has shown that such specific laws are more effective than general anti-bullying measures.
“Illinois schools are about to get safer for all students. GLSEN applauds the Illinois legislature for taking comprehensive action against all forms of bullying and ensuring that all students are protected under the law,” said Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network executive director Eliza Byard. “Such widespread support for an enumerated bill gives us even more hope that Congress will follow suit and pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act so that students across the country will have the same protections that are coming to Illinois schools.”
LGBT students in Illinois face extreme victimization, according to GLSEN. The organization’s 2007 survey of schools found that 89 percent of LGBT students in Illinois had been verbally harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
The eight other states that have enumerated anti-bullying laws are California, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.