Teachers Union Works to Make Schools Safer for Lesbians and Gays
The Board of Directors of the National Education Association (NEA) is developing a set of recommendations to help schools meet the needs of lesbians and gays. The recommendations are meant to combat harassment and discrimination in the school system for both students and teachers. Recommendations will be “provided in accordance with local school district policies” but will focus on fostering respect. “It's about building on simple civil rights enforcement to create an environment in schools where everyone in the community - students, teachers, education support professionals, and parents - respect each other,” said NEA President Bob Chase. “Ultimately, when we respect each other, schools will be safe and hospitable for all."
Lesbian and gay youth face numerous obstacles in the school system. In 1995, one in twelve high school health teachers taught their students that homosexuality was wrong. A Massachusetts study found that 97 percent of students in public high schools there regularly heard homophobic comments from their peers. Many lesbian and gay students are prone to truancy, and LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund claims that 40 percent of homeless youth are lesbian or gay. Lesbian and gay youth are also four times more likely to attempt suicide, according to a 1995 report from the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Education, and gays and lesbians make up 30 percent of all teen suicides, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Media Resources: National Education Association Press Release, 2/8/02; Women’s Enews, 2/10/02
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .