Following the increased media attention paid to bullying-related suicides in 2010, Senator Al Franken took a strong stand on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and those who are perceived to be LGBT. His Student Non-Discrimination Act (S. 555) protects them from school-based discrimination, much like Title IX does for gender discrimination, and much like other areas of law do for various protected classes. It recognizes bullying and harassment as discrimination, and it provides both for remedies against discrimination and incentives for schools to prevent it from happening in the first place.
On the occasion of this second national call-in day, when we mark the anniversary of SNDA’s introduction this session, and the anniversary of the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, PFAW has called on you to be part of the solution.
Below are some quick talking points (more detailed talking points here) you can use in your call and to help promote awareness about the bill.
- Support and cosponsor the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
- Bullying and harassment are forms of discrimination, but federal civil rights statutes leave LGBT students, and those who are perceived to be LGBT, unprotected.
- Bullying and harassment in schools is a pervasive national problem.
- Both Americans overall and education professionals in particular recognize the problem and support congressional action.
- When students lose their sense of safety, they lose their access to quality education.
- As Congress works to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, it should address the bullying and harassment problem.
- This isn’t just a question of education. It’s a matter of life and death.
Please call your senators now: Capitol Switchboard – (202) 224-3121
You can let us know how your call went with our online call report form.
More than one third of the Senate already supports the Student Non-Discrimination Act. Check the sponsor list to see if your Senators have signed on since last time. If they have, thank them. If they haven’t, it’s time to make another call.
We recognize and appreciate the leadership that your administration, particularly the Departments of Education and Justice, has demonstrated in efforts to protect students from harassment in schools. The White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in March and the first-ever Federal LGBT Youth Summit in June helped bring critically important attention to the devastating discrimination and harassment that LGBT students often experience in our nation’s public schools. We view an endorsement of the Student Non-Discrimination Act as the next important step the administration should take in the ongoing federal effort to ensure that all students have access to an education unhindered by discrimination and harassment.
[ . . . ]
The Student Non-Discrimination Act presents us with a historic opportunity to offer critical protections to current and future generations of LGBT youth and their student allies by ensuring that discrimination and harassment of students on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity will have no place in our country’s public elementary and secondary schools.
You can contact the President here.