New public school anti-bullying laws in Alabama require schools to create policies to eliminate violence, intimidation and harassment. This is making it tough for gay students due to a state law emphasizing homosexuality is not considered an acceptable lifestyle.
Only seven states have a law preventing teachers from portraying homosexuality in a positive manner, and Alabama is among the seven. These laws are referred to as no promo homo, and affect almost ten million students in public schools. The severity of these laws varies, and in July the law in Utah was repealed. The states still enforcing these laws are Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arizona, South Carolina and Louisiana. These laws operate with the statutes for anti-bullying which are in effect in all fifty states.
The effect of these laws has been chilling, and indicate areas of prejudice sanctioned by the states. In the states with these laws, LGBTQ content is not allowed in the classrooms by the teachers regardless of the topic. For more information on these laws, please visit https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/no-promo-homo-laws-states_us_5a6f9178e4b05836a255ae94.
Despite the fact these laws are used predominately for health education, they can still affect the attitude of the entire school regarding any LGBTQ students. According to the students in these states, there is less peer acceptance and the rate of bullying has increased. The LGBTQ students in these states have stated their teachers are less supportive, their access to clubs for the Gay Straight Alliance is very limited, and the school policies regarding bullying have become less comphrenisve.
The teachers in these states teaching secondary school have reported the current curriculum is much less likely to lend support to LGBTQ students, and any of the related topics. The health educators teaching in these states were generally not reporting any mental health services to provide assistance to gay students, or any current professional development regarding the gay population.
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