GLSEN is disappointed to announce that the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed legislation last night to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) without including necessary language to protect all student from bullying and discrimination.
Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced amendments to incorporate key provisions of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act into the reauthorization bill. Both Senators withdrew their amendments in a strategy that will allow them to move the amendments for debate on the Senate floor. The Safe Schools Improvement Act is a bill that would ensure schools adopt comprehensive, evidence-based anti-bullying policies that protect all students from bullying. The Student Non-Discrimination Act would help to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in school.
"We are disappointed that the Senate HELP Committee did not include the Student Nondiscrimination Act or key language from the Safe Schools Improvement Act in ESEA Reauthorization," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said.
"This was a critical missed opportunity to demonstrate federal leadership on an urgent issue. GLSEN will continue to work with our legislative champions to ensure that the safety of our youth in school will eventually get a vote in the Senate. The Legislative process is slow and frustrating, but with the help of our supporters, GLSEN will continue to press for action on behalf of every student who experiences bullying and discrimination in schools."