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RISD responds to teacher’s call for gay student anti-bullying program

By J.J. Smith. Gay students are already included under freedom from bullying, harassment, and discrimination policies and procedures at Rockwall ISD.

That was the heart of the written  response yesterday by RISD Executive Communications Director Sheri Fowler (pictured above) to an editorial written by Utley Middle School teacher Brandon Vestal printed in The Dallas Morning News Dec. 5 calling for more school districts to establish special anti-bullying programs for gay students, such as the Dallas ISD did November 18th.

“The current Rockwall ISD Policy FFH (Local) related to Freedom from Bullying, Hazing, Harassment and Sexual Harassment, addresses the issue of not harassing based on gender,” she wrote in an email to TheRockwallNews.com.

“The exact policy states:

The District prohibits discrimination, including harassment, against any student on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin,disability, or any other basis prohibited by law.

She added that the issue is covered in various ways through RISD’s current efforts.

“Although the specific terminology “transgender” or “homosexual” does not appear, these students would be included under freedom from bullying, harassment, and discrimination policies and procedures,” she explained.

“Sara Bonser, our new director of student services, and Kim West, our director of counseling, spearhead an on-going process of evaluating programs, staff and student training, and policies regarding anti-bullying efforts.”

TheRockwallNews.com is attempting to arrange an interview with Vestal.

His Dec. 5 editorial is published online here at DallasNews.com.

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