Obama administration launches campaign against anti-gay bullying
The US Obama administration has launched a campaign against homophobic bullying.
The new advice for schools and colleges comes shortly after President Obama recorded a video for the It Gets Better project, which aims to encouraged bullied gay teenagers.
Officials said that the new advice does not break legal ground. Instead, it is a comprehensive guide to how civil rights law applies to schools, colleges and university campuses.
It also tells teachers and university officials how federal law regards situations of harassment and discrimination, and how institutions should deal with cases.
There has been a spate of reports of bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans students committing suicide in the last two months in the US.
In his It Gets Better video, the president said he was “shocked” and “saddened” by the reports and urged depressed teenagers to seek help.
The advice tells teachers that in cases of discriminatory bullying, it may not be enough to reprimand perpetrators. Counselling bullies, labelling the incidents as discriminatory and encouraging other students to report incidents are some of the guidelines.
Last week, the Obama administration successfully applied for a stay on a court ruling lifting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the law which bars openly gay soldiers serving in the military.
Mr Obama has said he is committed to repeal but wants to see the law lifted through Congress rather than the courts.
Gay rights advocates have been angered by his perceived slowness to act on the controversial law.