Safe Schools Improvement Act (S. 403 / H.R. 1199)
The Safe Schools Improvement Act, GLSEN's signature legislation, would require all public K-12 schools to enact an anti-bullying policy that includes specific protections for bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity, along with other categories like race and religion.
Despite the fact that more than 8 out of 10 LGBT students are bullied in school each year because of their sexual orientation, Congress has yet to act. Currently, no federal law exists that addresses bullying and harassment, and existing state laws vary greatly from state to state in their breadth and effectiveness. It’s past time for Congress to address bullying and harassment nationwide. According to a 2005 report from GLSEN and Harris Interactive, 65% of middle and high school students said they had been bullied in the past year. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable, especially when it's preventable.
The good news? Our 2005 report found that students at schools with a comprehensive anti-bullying policy similar to the one required by the Safe Schools Improvement Act were far less likely to report a serious harassment problem at their school (33% vs. 44%). It’s not the 0% bullying we’re shooting for. But it’s a start.
GLSEN is proud to lead the 117-member National Safe Schools Partnership, a broad coalition of education, civil rights, disability, religious and youth development organizations who work to support this critical legislation. The Partnership's work and your calls and emails to your Representatives and Senators are paying off. The bipartisan bill is nearing record support in both the House and Senate.
The When and How
The Safe Schools Improvement Act was reintroduced in the Senate by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) on February 28, 2013, and in the House by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) on March 14, 2013. We can’t say for certain when it will become law, but your representatives need to hear from you!
Contact your representatives in Congress today and ask them to cosponsor the Safe Schools Improvement Act. It only takes a minute and makes a huge difference!