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GLSEN on the U.S. Senate’s Vote on SNDA
Media Relations Manager
GLSEN Statement on the U.S. Senate’s Vote on the Student Non-Discrimination Act
NEW YORK (June 14, 2015) – GLSEN Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, issued a statement following this afternoon’s vote by the U.S. Senate on the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) as an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., filed the bill that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students from discrimination in the nation’s K-12 public schools by establishing new federal non-discrimination protections modeled after Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
“We thank Sen. Franken for his ongoing leadership in ensuring that no student is treated differently at school simply because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Dr. Byard. “It is extremely disappointing that Student Non-Discrimination Act did not pass today. The federal government has an established role in protecting students from discrimination based on sex, race and religion. We call on Congress to codify non-discrimination protections into law for sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. The evidence is clear and compelling that LGBT students need those protections.
“GLSEN also thanks Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., for his ongoing leadership on the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA), which is critically needed. SSIA would provide critical protections from bullying for LGBT students and all those students most at risk. We are continuing to closely monitor the ESEA process to make sure that the interests of all students – including LGBT youth – are prioritized.”
The latest edition of GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey recently found that while school climate has improved somewhat since 1999, schools nationwide remain hostile environments for a distressing number of LGBT students and that discrimination affects students’ academic success and mental health. LGBT students who experienced discrimination at school were more than three times as likely to have missed school in the past month as those who did not, had lower GPAs than their peers, and had lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression.
GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students. Celebrating its 25th year, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.