Youth | Bullying | New Hampshire
Are there any laws protecting LGBTQ+ students from bullying in New Hampshire?
The 2010 law requires that each school district and charter school adopt a written policy prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying that includes:
- a procedure for reporting the bullying;
- a procedure for notifying the parents or guardian of a victim within 48 hours of the incident report that can be waived if the school feels that doing so is in the best interests of the victim or perpetrator;
- a procedure for investigating the incident in a timely manner, and, for any substantiated incident of bullying, the school must create a remediation plan that may include appropriate disciplinary action against the perpetrator, steps to reduce future incidents or retaliation and, if appropriate, offer assistance to the victim or perpetrator. The remediation plan must also be communicated to the parents or guardians of all the students involved in the incident;
- a plan for communicating, training and educating students, staff and parents about the anti-bullying policy.
Can schools regulate anti-bullying policies outside of school grounds?
Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court in Mahanoy Area School Dist. v. B. L. in addition to concluding that students have broad speech and expression rights outside of school, also stated:
“Circumstances that may implicate a school’s regulatory interests [outside school] include serious or severe bullying or harassment targeting particular individuals; threats aimed at teachers or other students . . .”
Does New Hampshire have guidance schools should follow to protect transgender students?
Yes, in 2015 the New Hampshire School Boards Association created a model policy for school districts to follow to protect transgender and gender non-conforming students. See: JBAB – TRANSGENDER AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING STUDENTS.
The model policy includes the following:
- Schools should respect a transgender student’s name and pronouns;
- Schools should respect transgender students’ privacy regarding any medical information, previous names, etc.;
- The name and gender on a student’s records should conform to the student’s gender identity;
- Transgender students should be able to use the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that accord with their gender identity;
- In any sex-segregated activities (including athletics), transgender students should be able to participate in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
Unfortunately, as of 2020 only 48 of the 196 school districts and charter schools have adopted such a plan, according to a report by the New Hampshire ACLU: The Case for Lived Equality in the Classroom
What can I do if I’m being discriminated against or bullied at school?
There are many ways to approach the issue. One is to ask for support from a friend, teacher, or counselor and talk to the people who are bothering you. That is not an option, however, if you don’t feel safe doing so.
Take a look at your school policies and notify whoever is supposed to be notified— usually a vice principal or Title IX coordinator. You should document any incidents of harassment or discrimination in writing with at least the date and time. Once you meet with the right officials, write yourself notes about what you told them and on what date and ask when they will be getting back to you with a response. If they don’t help you or don’t follow through, you may wish to write to the principal and superintendent and ask for them to end the discrimination.
If this fails, you may also wish to consider legal action against the town by contacting the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights or the federal Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.
This is a complicated area of law as well as being emotionally challenging. Contact GLAD Answers by filling out the email form at GLAD Answers or by phone at 800-455-4523 (GLAD) to discuss options.
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