DC Schools Consider Programs to Alleviate Harassment Against Gay and Lesbian Students
As gay youths become more open about their sexual orientation, they are being subject to more "visible" abuse in Washington, DC area schools, according to Linda Shevits, a Maryland education official to whom discrimination cases are reported. In response to this phenomenon, school districts are attempting to form comprehensive programs that include staff training and explicit policies and venues for handling anti-lesbian and gay discrimination.
Gay and lesbian students often face harassment and are occasionally physically assaulted. Rarely are these cases reported. Virtually no records of anti-gay and lesbian harassment are kept by school districts or gay and lesbian rights groups. Only six out of the 20 Washington-area school districts include sexual orientation as a classification for discrimination.
"We're really starting to hear a lot more from kids about schools, that this is the place they feel most unsafe," said Craig Bowman, executive director of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League. Due to this pressure, homosexual youths are at a higher risk for substance abuse and are four times as likely to have attempted suicide, said Lesbian and Gay Youth: Care and Counseling author Caitlin Ryan.
Montgomery county school officials hope to issue guidelines concerning verbal abuse and create sensitivity programs for educational staff, according to human relations director Oliver Lancaster.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .