NEW YORK (AP) - A spate of teen suicides linked to anti-gay harassment is prompting school officials nationwide to rethink their efforts against bullying.
The most recent and highest-profile case involved Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington bridge after images of him with another man were broadcast online. At least four younger teens have killed themselves since July after being targets of anti-gay bullying.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network tries to improve the school climate for gay students nationwide. It says a student survey found only 18 percent said their school had a program addresing anti-gay bullying.
But some religious conservatives are fighting programs that focus on harrassment of gay youth, arguing it's an unnecessary and manipulative tactic to sway young people's views of homosexuality. They say programs should focus on the actions of the bully.
Congress could weigh in on the issue. A pending bill called the Safe Schools Improvement Act would require schools receiving federal funds to implement bullying prevention programs that specifically address anti-gay harassment.