Across the country, 14 states have drafted bullying laws that include protections for LGBT students, said Alison Gill of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a national group that tracks LGBT protections in schools around the country.
The policy drew ire Wednesday from conservative groups that said the rule-change would curb students' free speech and seemed to condone homosexuality.
"Why include sexual orientation and gender identity?" asked Tom Fast, of Fayette County. "This is an attempt to sanction the homosexual agenda and lifestyle."
Jeremy Dys, president of the conservative values group Family Policy Council, said he had "grave concerns" about the anti-bullying measure. Dys said it "unconstitutionally limits free speech" and gives "unbridled authority" to teachers to crack down on students who speak out against homosexuality.
The state Board of Education put the proposal on public comment and received feedback from 33 county boards of education and more than 800 school principals and teachers about the impact of the policy.
Reach Amy Julia Harris at amy.har...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.