Student advocates for anti-bullying rights

Cydney Long

The president of Georgia Southern University’s Gay Straight Alliance attended the Safe Schools Advocacy in Washington D.C March 2-5 as an advocate for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

Out of 800 candidates, Michael Boddie and 39 other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community were selected to go to the conference.

“We proposed two bills: The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and the Student Non-Discrimination (SNDA),” Michael Boddie, president of GSU GSA and senior Spanish major, said.

“These acts are so important to me personally because a lot of people, students especially, are committing suicide because they are being bullied, and that has to stop,” Boddie said.

Both of these acts are federal bills, meaning if implemented, they will go into effect everywhere, Boddie said.

“The current laws against bullying are unspecific. These new laws will help to narrow them down,” Boddie said.

The SSIA promotes safety at school and will give teachers effective prevention strategies to help them address bullying and harassment, Boddie said.

“The SNDA will provide school districts with the means to control discrimination and harassment in schools,” Boddie said.

These bills were proposed Sen. Robert Casey, a democrat from Pennsylvania. They are bi-partisan, meaning they are supported by both major political parties, Boddie said.

“We can’t say it’s not happening here, because not too long ago in Effingham County a girl committed suicide,” Boddie said.

The GSA at GSU is working with GLSEN to specify the equality laws here in Georgia, Boddie said.

“GLSEN has several chapters around the nation, and we (the GSA of GSU) are working to get a chapter established in Georgia,” Boddie said.

The GSA of GSU was nominated as a GSA of the year, Boddie said.

“GSA is here to support all students,” Boddie said. “We care for all member of the LGBT community and we will work with anybody to stop bullying.”