By Robert B. Bluey
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
June 30, 2004
(CNSNews.com) - Mississippi's superintendent of education defended his state's school safety and anti-bullying laws Wednesday. He was responding to a report that criticized Mississippi for not affording special rights to homosexual students.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, known as GLSEN, ranked Mississippi as the worst state for homosexual students based on its lack of sexual orientation and gender identity laws. States were graded based on a point system; Mississippi scored a negative 3, which put it in last place.
"Bullying for any reason is unacceptable," said Henry L. Johnson, the state superintendent of education for the Mississippi Department of Education, in a statement released to CNSNews.com.
"Mississippi has one of the statistically safest school systems in the U.S.," Johnson said. "Mississippi does, in fact, have some of the strongest school safety and anti-bullying laws in the U.S. In fact, it is a misdemeanor to bully a student to the point that student is afraid to attend class for any reason . We have had 6 prosecutions under this law in the last 3 years."