Long Island LGBT students share stories of bullying at conference

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Stacey Sager reports LGBT students are calling attention to a rise in bullying.

Madeline Bruni transitioned to female back in middle school, but like many others, she suffered unbearable bullying.

"And I did face some physical bullying where I was pushed down a flight of stairs, and I suffered a concussion," Bruni says.

She graduated from Patchogue-Medford School District last year, but was one of hundreds attending an annual LGBT conference at Stony Brook University on Tuesday, where teens from at least 16 schools across Long Island attended workshops on everything from bullying to organizing at their schools.

"It was like, interactive - we could ask questions and stuff. It was really helpful," said Grace Bruer, a Southold High School senior.

The statistics from the LGBT network are extremely troubling - they say that when it comes to bullying at school, they're receiving three times the number of complaints they received during this time last year. They say it is time that the consequences fall more on those doing the bullying, instead of the victims.

"We need to have better enforcement of the 'Dignity for All Students Act' that was put in place several years ago in the New York State Assembly and Senate," said CEO of the LGBT Network, David Klimnick.

Some of the students at the conference say there has been progress, and that their middle schools are starting to consider students who wish to form gay-straight alliances as the support network grows.

"I've seen the climate get better, and I've seen our administration get better at understanding transgender individuals. I was the first one who came out at the middle school," says Syosset High School sophomore Ezra Green.

Their goal is to promote awareness, and lower the staggering number, 82 percent, of LGBT students who say they have been bullied at school.
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