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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, December 14, 2001

School harassment policy must be enforced today

It is absurd that a harassment policy for public schools that would add protections for gay and lesbian students has still not been officially put in place, more than a year after it was adopted by the state School Board.

Implementation of the policy is being held up by a dispute within a committee appointed to develop a plan. That committee is virtually deadlocked.

There are strongly held feelings within the implementation committee. Some members, while firmly against harassment of any student, say specifically including gay and lesbian students would force the schools to virtually endorse homosexuality through "tolerance" training.

Others say it is critical to teach tolerance, because without such understanding, there will be too many students (and perhaps even some faculty or staff) who consider harassment of homosexuals to be acceptable.

It seems unlikely that these two sides will ever successfully bridge the gap between them. That puts the matter back in the board's court. It created the policy; now it must demand that it is enforced, in word and deed.