For the first time in state history, gay and lesbian students will be protected from being bullied while at school after the West Virginia Board of Education unanimously adopted a new anti-bullying policy. Punishments for harassment can range from detention to suspension from school for 10 days; and the policy will go into effect July 1. Bradley Milam, executive director of Fairness West Virginia, called the board’s approval a major victory for civil rights in the state. “We all know that students are targeted because of physical appearance, disability, or perceived sexual orientation every day in schools all across West Virginia,” said Milam. “This policy will ensure that these kinds of bullying incidents and many others will decrease. This could make all the difference in the world to students across West Virginia who are bullying victims.” In adopting this policy, West Virginia joins a number of states that have created statewide guidelines recommending districts to protect GLBT students from harassment.
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