Advocate for LGBTQ+ youth in K-12 schools

Enumerated Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policies

*Last Updated April 29, 2024

GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey has consistently found that when LGBTQI+ youth report that their school has an anti-bullying policy that enumerates and expressly prohibit bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity, they are less likely to report they harassment and bullying. State anti-bullying laws set a standard for local education agencies and schools to adopt enumerated anti-bullying policies.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation that specifically prohibits bullying and harassment of students in K-12 schools based sexual orientation and gender identity. The territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have laws specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment of students based on sexual orientation only.

Three states (Hawaii, Utah, West Virginia) and the territories of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands have regulations that protect students from bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While state regulations can set a standard at the local level, they are more easily removed or changed than state laws.

Delaware requires that staff investigate if bullying was motivated by sexual orientation, gender identity, and other personal characteristics, but does not expressly prohibit such bullying. The Delaware Department of Education’s model bullying prevention policy does not enumerate sexual orientation and gender identity, including under investigative procedures.

Federally, Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination requires that any federally funded school take steps to prevent and effectively respond to harassment or bullying on the basis of sex, including on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex stereotypes, sex characteristics (including intersex traits). Learn more about the Title IX and federal protections for LGBTQI+ youth in K-12 schools:

Source: Collection and analysis of state policy data by GLSEN.