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GLSEN Statement on Safe Schools Bills
Media Relations Manager
GLSEN Statement on the Reintroduction of the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act
New York, NY (March 22, 2018) – GLSEN applauds the reintroduction of two key pieces of legislation in Congress that would ensure LGBTQ students are protected from bullying, harassment, and discrimination in the nation’s public schools.
The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), reintroduced yesterday in the Senate by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), would explicitly prohibit public schools from discriminating against any student on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA), introduced earlier this week in the Senate by Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) and last year in the House by Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), would require states to have fully inclusive anti-bullying policies that explicitly enumerate, or list, categories of the most vulnerable students. The following statements can be attributed to Nathan Smith, GLSEN Director of Public Policy. Regarding SNDA, Smith said:
“The Student Non-Discrimination Act would ensure that LGBTQ students are unequivocally protected from discrimination under federal law. Despite recent federal court rulings that transgender students are already protected under Title IX, SNDA would make clear for schools, students, and parents, that those protections do exist and provide LGBTQ students fully equal access to educational opportunities. Furthermore, it would take away the ability of any administration to deny LGBTQ students the protections they deserve under the law.”
Regarding SSIA, Smith said:
“SSIA would ensure that every state has an effective anti-bullying law, and the legislation is based on years of research and data. The introduction of the bill is a critical step in creating safer schools for the millions of LGBTQ students, students of color, students with disabilities, and students from various other minority groups who report higher incidents of bullying and harassment each year in schools across the United States. GLSEN Research has found that LGBTQ students who attend schools with enumerated anti-bullying policies experience lower levels of victimization, are less likely to miss school, and report higher grade point averages.
“GLSEN is thankful for the leadership of Sen. Baldwin and Rep. Polis on SNDA and Sen. Casey and Rep. Sánchez on SSIA. We stand ready to work with their colleagues in Congress to make these bills the law and ensure that LGBTQ students are fully protected from bullying, harassment, and discrimination in our nation’s schools,” concluded Smith.
GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of 39 community-led chapters in 26 states brings GLSEN’s expertise to local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for inclusive schools at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research, and educator training programs, please visit www.glsen.org.