Schools are meant to be student-centered places where young people are safe and can learn what they need to succeed in life. Yet, extremist politicians and well-funded national groups are trying to make public schools and school libraries a site of attacks on LGBTQ+ people, especially youth, and families. 

Youth in New Hampshire public schools still have rights, and our schools have a responsibility to ensure all students, including LGBTQ+ students, are safe, supported, and able to learn. GLAD and our partners are sharing these resources on your rights as a student, parent, and educator.

Find national resources and organizations here.

New Hampshire Resources

Know Your Rights

Nondiscrimination: New Hampshire General Laws prohibit discrimination in educational programs, opportunities and other matters based on gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, and perceived sexual orientation in New Hampshire public schools. You can read more under GL 354-A:27

Anti-Bullying: New Hampshire anti-bullying law affirms that “one of the legislature’s highest priorities is to protect our children from physical, emotional, and psychological violence by addressing the harm caused by bullying and cyber-bullying in our public schools”. It has requirements that schools must follow to protect students from a wide variety of bullying, be it physical, verbal, or online.  

Guidance for Schools: The New Hampshire Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has created guidance for schools on the rights, responsibilities, and best educational practices for transgender and gender non-conforming students.  

Learn more about youth rights in New Hampshire on the following Know Your Rights pages

What to do if you or your child is experiencing bullying, discrimination, or mistreatment in school

If you as a student or your child is experiencing bullying because of an LGBTQ+ status or a perceived LGBTQ+ status, you can take steps under local policy as well as state and federal law to remedy the situation. And you can pursue both avenues at the same time. 

New Hampshire Anti-Bullying & Harassment Protections: 

First, it is important to understand what New Hampshire considers bullying or harassment. New Hampshire anti-bullying laws define bullying as: “actions motivated by an imbalance of power based on a pupil’s actual or perceived personal characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs, or motivated by the pupil’s associated with another person and based on the other person’s characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs.” Read more here

Second, consider whether you want to take action under the school’s anti-bullying or harassment policies, which should be available on the school website. If so, follow the steps from the school’s policies, keep copies/screenshots of emails and texts, and take notes of conversations with school staff so you can show you have done what you are supposed to and that the school is on notice of your concerns.

If the school is not investigating the bullying, press them to do so. The anti-bullying law expects schools to have a written policy addressing 14 issues the state has outlined in their ‘Bullying Policy Checklist.’ 
 
If you are not satisfied with the school’s response, consider (1) contacting the school district’s Superintendent (information on the school website) and/or (2) reporting the bullying to the NH Department of Education, and/or contacting an attorney. 

You may also choose to file a discrimination complaint with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights. Find out more.

US Harassment & Discrimination Protections for Students 

Federal law is also a tool for addressing bullying and harassment.  When these behaviors are ignored or inadequately addressed, this may add up to discrimination or the denial of education opportunities based on sexual orientation or gender identity, among other characteristics.  

You can raise concerns about your or your child’s experience of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bullying, harassment, or other discrimination by contacting contact the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights in Boston to file a complaint. The OCR has the authority to investigate a complaint of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. Note that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are aspects of “sex” discrimination.  

Contact the Office of Civil Rights. 

Harassment and bullying because of a person’s LGBTQ+ status may also constitute sex discrimination under Title IX protections. Read more about the US Department of Education’s updated guidance on Title IX.  

If you have questions about the specific situation you are experiencing or questions that have not been answered above, please reach out to GLAD Answers

Get involved in your local community

  • Follow the issues that come up in your school committee and town/city council.
  • Attend meetings when important issues are being discussed and even to participate in the public comment period in which School Board/Committee members listen to input from the public. It is important that they hear support for good work and good arguments for why LGBTQ+ and race-based restrictions are bad educational policy for all students.
  • Follow education, curriculum, staffing, policy, library and other issues in school board and local elections, or run for office yourself.

For support in talking about issues related to education and LGBTQ+ students, and more ways to take action, visit Campaign for Our Shared Future.

Organizations and Additional Resources

Organizations

  • GLSEN New Hampshire ensures safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • New Hampshire Youth Movement is a movement of young people transforming their political system so it serves and is led by the people it has left behind.
  • PFLAG New Hampshire  is an organization of LGBTQ+ people, parents, families, and allies who work together to create an equitable and inclusive world.

For more youth-focused organizations, visit Youth Organizations | New Hampshire.

Additional Resources

New Hampshire School Boards AssociationTransgender and Gender Nonconforming Policy — New Hampshire policy for schools to protect and affirm transgender and gender nonconforming students.

Want to learn more about LGBTQ+ Equality in New Hampshire? Visit the Movement Advancement Project’s New Hampshire Equality Profile.

GLAD Answers

Still have questions? Contact GLAD Answers for free and confidential legal information, assistance, and referrals. Complete the online intake form at GLADAnswers.org, email GLADAnswers@glad.org, or leave a voicemail at 800-455-GLAD.