Bill Introduced to Protect LGBT Students
June 10, 2010
Imagine waking up every morning knowing that you’ll have to go to a school where you are tormented and bullied, all for something you can’t control. The sad truth is that this happens to students who are—or are perceived by their classmates to be—gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT).
Twenty-three senators recently introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2010 to protect GLBT students in public schools from harassment, bullying and violence. Students are already protected from bullying based on race, sex, religion, disability and national origin. This bill would extend those rights to students who are or are perceived to be GLBT.
The bullying of GLTB students leads to the increased likelihood of skipping school and even dropping out. According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s 2007 National School Climate Survey, 60 percent of GLBT students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and about a third skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.
Bullying not only affects students’ emotional health and their ability to learn at school, but can also end tragically. Lawrence King, who identified as gay, was allegedly murdered by a bully, and Carl Walker-Hoover took his own life after being bullied relentlessly because he was perceived to be gay. This new legislation wouldn’t just help protect GLBT students from harassment, but it could save lives.