People For the American Way

President listens, supports anti-bullying legislation

Back in March, PFAW and AAMIA joined 70 national and state organizations in calling on President Obama to publicly support and endorse the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

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.

He listened.

On April 20, the President threw his support behind SNDA and another bill, the Safe Schools Improvement Act. Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett:

All of our students have the same right to go to school in an environment free of discrimination and harassment, and that’s why the President supports these two important pieces of legislation and wants to work with Congress as they move forward in the process.

Every day, we are striving to do our part to make progress. And I believe that day by day, step by step, we will change not just our laws and policies, but behavior, so that every young person is able to thrive in our schools and communities, without worrying about being bullied.

Senator Franken and Representative Polis, SNDA’s sponsors, and Senator Casey and Representative Sánchez, SSIA’s sponsors, celebrated the announcement with similar calls to action.

Speaking on April 28 at the White House LGBT Conference on Families in Minneapolis, Senator Franken continued:

We’re going to pass this thing. It may take a year, it may take a few years, but we’re going to do it, vote-by-vote, we’re going to get there.

[ . . . ]

[W]hat we’re seeing in our schools today isn’t just teasing. It’s not just playground behavior. What we’re seeing is more than just bullying. We’re seeing discrimination.

Click here and here for more from Senator Franken.

In other news, PFAW has just released its latest Right Wing Watch: In Focus report, Big Bullies: The Right Wing’s Anti-Anti-Bullying Strategies, which details the efforts of right-wing activists and organizations to prevent school districts from implementing strong anti-bullying policies that protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived students. This is an update to our April 2011 edition.


112th Congress, Al Franken, Barack Obama, Bob Casey, bullying, Jared Polis, LGBT equality, LGBT youth, Linda Sánchez, Policy Corner, public policy, Safe Schools Improvement Act, Shin Inouye, SNDA, SSIA, Student Non-Discrimination Act, Valerie Jarrett