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Groups Work To Combat Bullying Against LGBT Students In D.C. Public Schools

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By Matt Laslo

A survey shows gay and lesbian students in the District's public schools are reporting high levels of harassment.

Approximately a quarter of gay, lesbian and bi-sexual teens in D.C. say they get harassed by classmates. David Mariner, of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, says besides just test scores, D.C. officials need to focus on the well being of students.

"Students in D.C. public schools don't feel safe: Gay, Lesbian and bi-sexual students. They're more likely to skip school because they don't feel safe going to school. They're more likely to carry a weapon to school. They're more likely to be harassed and they're more likely to consider suicide," says Mariner.

Tuesday night the Southern Poverty Law Center is debuting a movie in D.C. called "Bullied" which tells the story of a gay student who was physically and mentally abused. Richard Cohen, the group's president, says the film is an attempt to educate parents and students about anti-gay harrassment, which he calls an "epidemic."

"We're coming to D.C. to issue a national call and that is for every school in the country to adopt and implement an effective anti-bullying policy," says Cohen.

The center says it's sent approximately 500 copies of the movie to schools in the D.C. metro area.

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