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Youth | School | New Hampshire

New Hampshire School Q&A

Are there any laws protecting gay and transgender students in New Hampshire?

Yes. On July 1, 2010, the New Hampshire General Court enacted a revision to the Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention Act (see HB 1523 at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2010/HB1523.html) that specifically recognized that pupils who are LGBT or perceived to be LGBT are one of the groups that have historically been targeted for bullying. New Hampshire now has one of the strongest anti-bullying laws in the country.

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.

Are there other laws which may protect me from discrimination and harassment because of my sexual orientation?

Possibly. Federal law prohibits sex discrimination in public schools that receive federal funding. Depending on the situation, harassment of LGBT students may be actionable as sex discrimination (See, e.g., Ray v. Antioch Unified School District, 107 F. Supp. 2d 1165 (N.D. Cal. 2000) (stating that attacks based on a student’s perceived sexuality constitute sex discrimination)). Harassment of transgender students in particular is actionable. Several federal courts have held that the federal anti-discrimination law, Title IX, prohibits discrimination based on gender identity (See, e.g., Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 Bd. of Educ., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 9362 (7th Cir. 2017); cf. Bd. of Educ. v. U.S. Dep’t of Educ., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131474 (S.D. Ohio 2016)).

Complaints can be made to your school Title IX coordinator, as well as to:

Office for Civil Rights
The U.S. Department of Education
John W. McCormack Post Office & Courthouse, Room 222
5 Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109 (617) 289 – 0111    FAX: (617) 289 – 0150 TDD: (877) 521 – 2172 OCR.Boston@ed.gov

Additionally, some kinds of discrimination and harassment may violate a student’s constitutional rights.

What can I do if I’m being discriminated against 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.