Anti-bullying guide blocked under Romney

June 12, 2012 at 12:45 PM
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BOSTON, June 12 (UPI) -- Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's administration blocked an anti-bullying guide over the use of "bisexual" and "transgendered," state records indicate.

Then-aides to Romney said in 2006 publication of the guide for public schools was delayed because of its length and the need for further review, the Boston Globe reported.

But an e-mail written in May 2006 by Alda Rego-Weathers, then deputy commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, and obtained by the Globe through a public records request, cited use of the words "bisexual" and "transgendered."

"Because this is using the terms 'bisexual' and 'transgendered,' DPH's name may not be used in this publication,'' Rego-Weathers wrote.

That effectively stopped publication because DPH had been the primary sponsor and funding source for the guide, the Globe said.

In the e-mail, Rego-Weathers said she had been consulting with Romney's office on the issue.

The terms "bisexual" and "transgender" appeared in passages about protecting certain students from harassment, state records and interviews with current and former state officials show.

The Globe said stopping publication of the guide was among moves by Romney, a Republican, and his aides during his last year as governor to distance himself from state programs intended to specifically support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Critics called the moves part of an attempt to woo social conservatives as Romney prepared for his first presidential campaign in 2008.

"Romney put his own political interests ahead of the safety of vulnerable youth,'' said Don Gorton, a gay-rights advocate and the author of the 120-page anti-bullying guide.

About 10,000 copies of the "Guide to Bullying Prevention'' were published in 2008, during Democrat Deval Patrick's first term in office.

Rego-Weathers, who is now a Rhode Island state official, declined to comment, as did former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who was among officials who had supported publication, the Globe said. Healey, now a special adviser to Romney's 2012 campaign for president, referred questions to the campaign but the campaign offered no new comments and referred to the statements of then-Governor Romney's administration in 2006.

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