Legislation would help protect public school students from bullying, harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), which would help protect public school students from bullying, harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Student Non-Discrimination Act is more necessary than ever, as the Departments of Education and Justice – under the guidance of President Trump, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions – rescinded Obama administration guidance on the rights of transgender students and refuses to investigate cases of discrimination against transgender students.
“Every student deserves a safe place to learn without fear of discrimination, harassment, and bullying,” said Blumenthal and Murphy. “The Student Non-Discrimination Act would safeguard existing protections for LGBTQ students should President Trump continue to backtrack on the Obama administration’s commitment to equality. With the wellbeing of our nation’s youth on the line, Congress must take action now.”
A national study of adolescents in grades 7 - 12 found that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Further, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, negative attitudes toward LGBT youth put these students “at increased risk for experiences with violence, compared with other students.”
The legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA). Numerous advocacy groups locally and nationally have championed the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
In the Senate, the Student Non-Discrimination Act is cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).