November 01, 2016

Antibullying Roundtables

The SOGI Commission has been studying laws and programs designed to prevent bullying against all students. In light of our particular mission, we have concentrated on Antibullying efforts impacting LGBT youth. To that end, we have spearheaded an Antibullying Roundtable Program beginning in August 2014 during the ABA’s Annual Meeting in Boston. Since that time we have held such Roundtables in Houston, Texas (ABA MidYear Meeting, February 2015) and in Chicago, Illinois (ABA Annual Meeting, July 2015). Our fourth Antibullying Roundtable will take place on February 4, 2016 during the ABA’s Mid-Year Meeting in San Diego, California.

The SOGI Antibullying Roundtables are forums where ABA leaders and SOGI Commission members gather with thought-leaders and stakeholders who have been on the forefront of Antibullying efforts in their communities, in order to share ideas and fashion solutions. Our roundtables coincide with ABA meetings in various locations around the country, and are conducted for a three-hour period during an afternoon. The participants discuss positive accomplishments, as well as goals that still need to be achieved. Our roundtables have resulted in amazing exchanges between governmental leaders, elected and appointed, who have sponsored Antibullying legislation or work to implement it, school administrators, teachers, attorney advocates for students, community advocates, social service providers, parents, students and others who care about our children. These Roundtables have focused on the bullying of LGBT children from kindergarten through college. We will recreate the prior Roundtables in San Diego on February 4, 2016 by gathering together prominent individuals, both in the government and private sectors, to talk about what is being done in California, and in particular in the San Diego community, to prevent the bullying of LGBT youth.

Topics we have discussed include: state legislation addressing bullying issues, including specific language regarding bul- lying of LGBT students; rules and regulations passed to implement Antibullying laws; state resources devoted to Antibullying efforts; specific school-based Antibullying programs; resources and support for teachers to prevent bullying in their classrooms; legal remedies for children who have not been protected from bullying in their school environment; educating teachers, parents, and students to enable better understanding and acceptance of each individual child’s sexual orientation and gender identity and expression; challenges that transgender students face in the school environment; and other important issues.

We have worked our way across the country beginning in Boston on the east coast to California on the west coast. Each location has contributed something new and significant to the discussion of how to address this crucial problem throughout the United States, and beyond. We hope to build upon these Roundtables by holding similar events in other areas of the country where the ABA gathers, and ultimately to promote a model for national laws and programs. ABA immediate Past- President William Hubbard and our current ABA President Paulette Brown have participated in these Roundtables and expressed their strong commitment and support to this issue. We look forward to working with other groups within the ABA to eradicate bullying against all youth in our schools and in our country. Together, we can make a difference.

 

HON. MARGARET J. FINERTY
Partner, Getnick & Getnick LLP

 

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