Today, I am thinking about the opportunities I have had to defend the legal rights of students in northeast Pennsylvania.
Students are on my mind because this month, hundreds of thousands of students nationwide will participate in the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) 13th Annual Day of Silence. Participants will remain silent throughout a school day to symbolize the silencing effects bullying and
harassment have on students perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
Their efforts, tragically, will fall on the birthday of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, a Massachusetts middle school student who would have turned twelve on April 17th had he not committed suicide in early April after enduring sustained, daily bullying from his peers for his perceived sexual orientation. Carl's mother had repeatedly, unsuccessfully pleaded with the school to intervene.
The General Assembly of Pennsylvania recently amended the
Pennsylvania School Code to prevent situations like Carl's in our state. As of January 1, 2009, all our schools must have an official, well-publicized anti-bullying policy that clearly delineates disciplinary consequences for bullying and identifies which school personnel hold responsibility for responding to complaints.
Unfortunately, that an amendment exists does not necessarily mean it will be properly implemented. Too often, educators fail to follow the law, turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to students' complaints and parents' demands, and insist that they know best when it comes to students' best interests.
I have a proven track record defending the legal rights of students in northeast Pennsylvania. I can help students fight back against unfair accusations and advocate on their behalf when their rights are denied. If you have reached an impasse with your school, don't give up. Call Rogan Law to schedule a free consultation today.