Students Deserve Safe Schools

By Arielle P. Schwartz, Holley Law Fellow Alumni, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

safeschoolsAs a member of the National Safe Schools Partnership, the Task Force joined 28 organizations for a month-long advocacy campaign last week to call on Congress to support the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) (S. 403/H.R. 1199) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) (S. 1088/H.R. 1652).

SSIA would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to require school districts in the U.S. that receive government funds to adopt codes of conduct to prohibit bullying and harassment. SSIA would also require that states report bullying and harassment incidents on school grounds to the Department of Education. In order to improve policies that protect schools and students, it is imperative to have accurate data.

SNDA would establish a comprehensive federal prohibition against discrimination and harassment based on a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public elementary and secondary schools across the country.

SSIA and SNDA will assist in creating a welcoming environment for all students and ensure that children are able to focus on education. Once enacted, these protections will help create a better educated, more productive population, able to contribute fully to the general welfare of our nation.

According to Representative Linda T. Sánchez’s office (CA-38), SSIA is at 193—bipartisan—cosponsors. SSIA needs only 25 more co-sponsors to ensure passage if House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) allows it to come up for a vote. Join us by calling your congress member and asking them to support SSIA and SNDA, and tweeting #MakeSchoolsSafe and #EndBullying.

See the Task Force letter here and click here to learn how you can create safer schools for all students.