Insider Stories: Tensions, Resistances, and Missed Opportunities in State LGBT-Inclusive Anti-bullying Policy

Abstract

The small body of research exploring implementation of state anti-bullying law has noted that while many teachers and administrators report awareness of the law and an expectation for implementation, few report changes in the culture of their schools. Possible reasons for the disconnection between legislation and impact include policy and its implementation. Researchers have found substantial variation in the “fidelity of implementation of policy interventions for bullying” (Hall and Chapman 2018, p. 510). This study explores the implementation of LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying law in New York State through the stories of key participants in the Dignity Act Task Force, a statewide group selected to guide implementation. Participants perceived resistance from the New York State Education Department to developing Dignity Act implementation resources that engaged with LGBT inclusion in any meaningful way. While LGBT students were always listed among the law’s protected categories, implementation resources written specifically to address vulnerabilities and stigma experienced by LGBT students and families were generally dismissed as unnecessary.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    To date, state-level education policies do not name the identity of “queer” as a protected category. LGBT is used throughout this paper for consistency. LGBTQ is used only when quoting works that use that acronym.

  2. 2.

    The Dignity Act definition of gender includes gender identity and gender expression.

  3. 3.

    See Payne and Smith (2013) for a full discussion of distinctions between school climate and school culture.

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Correspondence to Elizabethe Payne.

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The research was covered by IRB. Participants gave informed consent.

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Payne, E., Smith, M. Insider Stories: Tensions, Resistances, and Missed Opportunities in State LGBT-Inclusive Anti-bullying Policy. Int Journal of Bullying Prevention 1, 231–245 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42380-019-00049-z

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Keywords

  • LGBTQ bullying
  • Bullying policy
  • Bullying implementation
  • Bullying law
  • State Department of education