June 8, 2012 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Council adopts anti-bullying bill
bullying, gay news, Washington Blade

District of Columbia youth advocates rally against bullying. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. City Council on Tuesday gave final approval of an anti-bullying bill that requires schools and other city agencies to curtail bullying based on someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity and a wide range of other categories, including race, religion and ethnicity.

The Youth Bullying and Prevention Act of 2012 was expected to be sent late this week to Mayor Vincent Gray, who has promised to sign it. Like all D.C. legislation, the bill must undergo a 30 legislative day review by Congress, which usually lasts between 60 and 90 calendar days. Capitol Hill observers expect the bill to clear the congressional review.

The bill requires the city’s public schools, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the D.C. public library system, and the University of the District of Columbia to develop comprehensive anti-bullying policies.

LGBT advocates were part of a broad community coalition that lobbied the Council to pass the bill. LGBT groups also called on the Council to strengthen some of its provisions, resulting in significant changes from the first version of the bill introduced in January 2011.

Similar to its first-reading vote on the bill last month, the Council on Tuesday approved the measure by unanimous voice vote.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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