WE DID IT! Maryland General Assembly Passes the Inclusive Schools Act 

LGBTQ and disability groups celebrate new protections for youth
School children hang rainbow pride flags out of the windows of a school bus.

Maryland General Assembly Passes the Inclusive Schools Act 

LGBTQ and disability groups celebrate new protections for youth

 

Annapolis, Maryland–On April 11, 2022, the Maryland General Assembly voted to pass the Inclusive Schools Act (HB850/SB666). This bill would establish a comprehensive non-discrimination policy for public schools and publically-funded private schools if signed into law. The legislation would cover over 900,000 students and their families, offering protection against discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The bill would also create an administrative process for reviewing and remedying complaints of discrimination with the State Superintendent.

Sponsored by Senator Cory McCray and Delegate Wilkins, the Inclusive Schools Act was voted out of the General Assembly on Monday and now heads to the governor’s office. Governor Hogan has 30 days to sign or veto the legislation. If no action is taken, the bill will become law thirty days after presentation.

In December 2020, a report from the Carroll County Times highlighted the voices of Black teens who face discrimination and unsafe learning environments in parts of Maryland. Additionally, a majority of Maryland LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe in their schools (65%), regularly hearing anti-LGBTQ comments, and experiencing harassment or assault based on their identity (64%).  Most never report incidents (54%), or do not know how to, and of those that do report, a minority (29%) report any intervention. Only 12.6% of students report knowing of non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies for their school. 

Jeremy LaMaster (he/they), Executive Director of FreeState Justice, says that this has been a legislative priority of LGBTQ Marylanders for a number of years, but faced significant hurdles. “I am glad we have finally secured protections for nearly all students across Maryland. There is an important message in this legislation, as well, that taxpayer money should never fund those engaging in discrimination, bias, and hate.”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 12, 2021

Press Contact: Shayne Miller-Westfield

Email: swestfield@freestate-justice.org 

Call/Text: (443) 977-4240

 

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Please consider making a recurring donation to our Maryland-focused LGBTQ Policy Advocacy Fund, as we continue to push for policy reform and fight off attacks on community rights. Read more and donate here: https://freestate-justice.org/donate-2/donate-to-lgbtq-policy-advocacy-fund/

FreeState Justice is a statewide non-profit organization that serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community in Maryland through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and outreach and training activities. FreeState Legal and Equality Maryland merged in June 2016 to form FreeState Justice. For more information, visit www.freestate-justice.org, call (410) 625-5428, or email info@freestate-justice.org

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