Groups Want A Tougher Stance on Bullying

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Conversation reported and produced by Andrea Dukakis

First reported December 29, 2010

For some kids, walking down a school hallway is like walking through a minefield. A classmate might just be waiting to call them a name, push them into a locker or worse.

Brad Clark: "Bullying and harassment is an issue kids in school face and especially for lesbian, gay,bisexual and transgender young people, it seems to be the rule rather than the exception."

Brad Clark is Executive Director of One Colorado. He advocates for the rights of gay and lesbians in the state.

Brad Clark: "One of things we found that students who experience harassment have half grade lower grade point average compared to other students. Thirty-percent of lgbt students miss school in the last month because of safety. So this isn’t just boys being boys."

The dangers of school bullying were driven home this year after a series of suicides by gay students. All of them had been bullied in school. That’s why One Colorado along with other civil rights and education groups have asked governor-elect John Hickenlooper to set up a task force to reduce bullying in schools.

Brad Clark: "Given the consequences of bullying and harassment, we think it’s imperative that they address this right now."

Josh Zalmanek couldn’t agree more. He’s a high school junior in Colorado Springs. He tells Ryan Warner that in middle school, kids were especially cruel to him when they found out he was gay. A note that our conversation contains some offensive language.