There can be no doubt that bullying is a serious problem in our schools. Bullying can have serious effects on the physical and emotional well-being of bullied students. Schools with high rates of bullying perform worse academically than schools with lower rates of bullying. And, students who commit acts of school violence frequently have been victims of bullying. LGBT youth are particularly susceptible to bullying. These students may already be struggling to come to terms with their sexuality in a hostile cultural environment that may even extend to their own families. For them, bullying exacerbates the trauma and turmoil they may be facing. LGBT youth suffer higher rates of suicide than the general population, and estimates are that between 30 and 40% of LGBT youth have attempted suicide. Many LGBT youth who commit suicide have been victims of bullying at school. For all of these reasons, the ACLU of Virginia supports strong anti-bullying policies that protect students from harassment and intimidation, provide a safe and effective means for students to report bullying, and allow for appropriate investigation of complaints and discipline of bullies.
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