Lawmakers have hit a snag in efforts to make schools adopt policies to combat bullying.
The House Education Committee debated but ran out of time to act on a bill to require school administrators to adopt policies against bullying and harassment. The panel also tried to establish guidelines for reporting such acts, and procedures for investigation and punishment.
Disagreement focuses on the bill's description of bullying, which it says includes acts motivated by bias against "any actual or perceived characteristic" of a victim from a list that includes race, gender, disability and sexual orientation.
Representative Rick Glazer says the bill doesn't try to grant special protection to homosexual students, but simply says they are among potential victims that school administrators should keep an eye on.
Opponents insist that including sexual orientation on the list would set a legal precedent unrecognized elsewhere for protecting gays and lesbians.