Introduction of the Student Nondiscrimination Act
NEW YORK - The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) today lauded the introduction of the bipartisan Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would prohibit discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), joined by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and over 100 cosponsors introduced the legislation. The bill ensures that all students in school receive an education free from discrimination, including students who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
"GLSEN thanks Representatives Jared Polis, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the more than 100 SNDA cosponsors for supporting a bill that would require our nation's schools to ensure that LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT are afforded the same rights and are treated with the same dignity and respect as every other child," said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN's Executive Director. "We still face the reality where students experience outright discrimination based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation."
Eight out of 10 LGBT students (81.9%) experience harassment at school because of their sexual orientation, and 63.5% feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, according to GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey. A third of LGBT students (31.8%) missed a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe.
Additionally, more than one in five (21.6%) students described ways that their schools or school personnel discriminate against LGBT people, including through formal or official school or district-level policies, as well as through unwritten or informal school or district-level policies and practices by school personnel.
SNDA is endorsed by many advocacy organizations including: GLSEN, American Association of University Women, American Civil Liberties Union, GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders), Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, School Social Work Association and Transgender Law Center.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.