Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Suffolk Police To Get Special Training To Help Bullied LGBT Students

June 04, 2018 - 1:30 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- As Pride Week kicks off on Long Island, the Suffolk County Police Department has announced new training for officers to assist students from the LGBT community who are being bullied in school.

The training will included professional development, technical assistance and policy and procedure development. 

It's the first-of-its-kind program in the country, said David Kilmnick, president of the LGBT Network.

Kilmnick said over 85 percent of LGBT students report verbal harassment at school and 27 percent report physical harassment leading to over 58 percent feeling unsafe in school. Bullied students are two times more likely to not pursue higher education, he added.

Forty-three percent of LGBT youth did not expect to finish high school because they planned to drop out due to harassment. Well that's going to change here in Suffolk County now because when a kid is in school and they're being bullied they'll be able to get help in real time," Kilmnick said. "They're going to be able to call the LGBT NEtwoork Bullying hotline and we are going to have a direct connection to the school resource officers and an intervention can be made while the student is still in school."

Kilmnick said while it doesn't end bullying he hopes it gives reprieve to parents who are concerned for their child's safety.

The probation department will also receive training to help those form the LGBT community who are currently behind bars in the county jail.