LAUSD approves anti-gay bullying effort

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The Los Angeles Unified school board on Tuesday unanimously approved a motion to try to prevent anti-gay bullying as early as the elementary grades.

The proposal by board member Steve Zimmer directs LA Unified elementary, middle, and high schools to reduce bullying toward gay students by promoting positive images of gay people, using age-appropriate curricula, and reminding employees to look out for anti-gay bullying. Middle school coach Cathy Figel told board members she came out as a lesbian because she was tired of the harassment she’d faced when she was younger.

"I continue to self identify on my campus and with my students because I don’t want any of my students to ever consider some of the things I considered doing in my life, such as running away, and such as ending it as a young adult," she said.

Within the next two months, LA Unified’s superintendent will explain how the district will carry out the new policy. A new California law that requires public school curricula to include the contributions of gays and lesbians prompted the school board’s action.