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Introduced Version House Concurrent Resolution 131 History

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HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 131

(By Delegates Skinner, Fleischauer, Poore, Barrett, Moore, Morgan, Perdue, Hunt, Marshall, Manypenny, Barill, Eldridge, Ferns, Pasdon, Paxton and Raines)

 

Supporting the goals and ideals of the National Day of Silence in bringing attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender name-calling, bullying and harassment faced by individuals in schools.

    Whereas, The National Day of Silence is a day in which students take a vow of silence to bring attention to the anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender name-calling, bullying and harassment faced by individuals in schools. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network designates the third Friday of every April as the National Day of Silence. Hundreds of thousands of students at more than 8,000 schools have participated in the National Day of Silence in past years; and

    Whereas, The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's 2011 National School Climate Survey illustrates the pervasive harassment and victimization faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students by documenting their experiences within the preceding academic year. Nearly 82 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students reported being verbally harassed by their peers at school because of their sexual orientation and more than 60 percent because of their gender expression. More than 38 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students reported being physically harassed by their peers at school because of their sexual orientation, and over 27 percent because of their gender expression. Over 18 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students reported being physically assaulted by their peers at school because of their sexual orientation and more than 12 percent because of their gender expression. More than 60 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students reported that they felt unsafe in school and nearly 30 percent reported missing at least one entire school day in the preceding month because of safety concerns; and

    Whereas, Transgender students were more likely than all other students to report feeling unsafe at school because of their gender expression. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, those who expressed a transgender identity or gender nonconformity while in grades K through 12 reported alarming rates of harassment, physical assault and sexual violence so severe that almost 15 percent of those surveyed had to leave school. Student academic performance is affected such that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who experienced high levels of verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender expression report a grade point average nearly a half grade lower than those of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who experienced low levels of such harassment; and

    Whereas, The presence of supportive staff contributed to a range of positive indicators including fewer reports of missing school, fewer reports of feeling unsafe, greater academic achievement, higher educational aspirations, and a greater sense of school belonging. A growing number of cities and local education authorities in the state are adopting laws and policies to prohibit name-calling, bullying, harassment and discrimination against students on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression; and

    Whereas, Every child should be guaranteed an education free from name-calling, bullying, harassment and discrimination regardless of his or her sexual orientation and gender identity or expression; Therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Legislature supports the goals and ideals of the National Day of Silence; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Governor is requested to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the National Day of Silence with appropriate ceremonies, programs and activities; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That city, and local education authority in the state are encouraged to adopt laws and policies to prohibit name-calling, bullying, harassment and discrimination against students, teachers and other school staff regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, so that the Nation's schools are institutions where all individuals are able to focus on learning.

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