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Nevada's Republican governor signs anti-bullying bill protecting LGBTI students

Brian Sandoval challenges students to 'embrace your differences'

Nevada's Republican governor signs anti-bullying bill protecting LGBTI students

Flanked by 8th grade students who he challenged to ’embrace your differences,’ Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed an anti-bullying bill into law on Wednesday (20 May).

‘Every single one of you deserves the opportunity to grow and learn without the fear of being picked on,’ Sandoval said at a signing ceremony at Carson City Middle School in Carson City.

‘No students should be in pain,’ he added. ‘All students should have the opportunity to thrive and succeed.’

The law specifically protects students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Nevada has now joined 17 other states and Washington, DC in having laws that specifically prohibit bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Dr. Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network , called the signing ‘an important step.’

‘This law sends a powerful message of support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students,’ Byard said.

She added: ‘Students who attend schools with LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying policies experience lower levels of victimization, have lower rates of absenteeism and higher grade point averages, and report that teachers intervene in bullying incidents more than twice as often.’

The bill revises the definition of bullying and creates a separate anti-bullying office, The Office of Safe and Respectful Learning, within the Nevada Department of Education.

It also strengthens reporting requirements for bullying incidents, and creates a 24-hour hotline and a website for submitting complaints.

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