A measure that would protect students from harassment based on gender identity and sexual orientation was voted down by Congress on the afternoon of July 14, because some people are terrible.
The original bill was Sen. Al Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban discrimination in schools. After the bill was blocked by Republicans, SNDA was introduced as an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act, which got only 52 of the 60 votes it needed to overcome congressional gridlock.
“Today, a majority of U.S. Senators recognized this truth by voting to end bullying against LGBT students,” said Congressman Jared Polis, an author of the bill, in a statement responding to today’s defeat. “While it didn’t receive the 60 votes necessary for passage, this represents a giant step forward in our effort to make sure LGBT students have a safe and welcoming place to learn.”
The Advocate reports:
Three-quarters of LGBT students report verbal harassment at school, according to the Gay, Lesbian & Striaght Education Network, while half report being bullied online, and more than a third face physical attacks or harassment.
In response, 64 Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, asking for protections for LGBT students.
“Each of us counts among our constituents students who have suffered from pervasive discrimination and bullying because their teachers, administrators, or peers knew or perceive them to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” reads the letter. “While fully addressing this problem will require legislation from Congress, we ask that the Department of Education use every avenue at its disposal to protect LGBT students from discriminatory school practices.”
Read the full letter here.
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