Standing against bullying

On Sunday I wrote about Kylie Perez, the New Jersey transgender student at Eastside High School who was assaulted in the hallway of the school. Reports out of Newark have arrived that seven students have now been suspended related to the attack of the 14-year-old. School officials report that the students who attacked Kylie and those who chose to record the attack rather than intervene in the conflict will have disciplinary hearings this week.

It just makes me very angry and hurt that my daughter had to experience something like that in this day in age especially.

--Lillian Richards, Kylie's mother

Perez and her mother met Monday with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and school administrators. District officials have planned a series of assemblies about acceptance that will feature Perez as a speaker.

I'm not going let it fade away. I'm going to make sure that people know that trans lives, every life, matters.


Unreported in the original stories was the fact that October is anti-bullying month.

This type of incident is unacceptable, and we must expand our anti-bullying work in schools.

This is vital because LGBT-inclusive curriculum has been shown to be the single most significant factor in reducing anti-LGBT bias among peers.

--Christian Fuscarino, Garden State Equality

Kylie originally attempted to return to the school last Thursday but received a threat, which resulted in a call for Mrs. Richards to pick Kylie up. Kylie returned to school yesterday after a rally of support for her took place outside the school on Monday.

We're here to make sure the community knows, that Kylie knows, and the quiet students around her know, that they can live their true selves.

--Sharronda Wheeler, Newark Gay Pride

Just last week, the Newark Board of Education adopted a resolution to have a dedicated support staff member for LGBTQ students.

We want Kylie to know she is safe at East Side High School. We want her to focus on her education and we really are ready to do anything and everything to make it comfortable for her.

--Newark Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Robert Gregory

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Hope other school districts adopt resolutions to have dedicated support staff member for LGBTQ students. This will save lives.
My sons high school (inner DC suburb) has dozens of open LGBTQ students. The students and teachers are (in general) open, accepting and nonchalant. My son is not aware of any bullying. Education, exposure and awareness are key to moving from bigotry to understanding.
We have to remind our son that in most of the country LGBTQ students do not enjoy the same freedom to be their true selves.

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