President Barack Obama on April 21 endorsed two gay-inclusive anti-bullying bills: the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).
White House spokesman Shin Inouye told gay weekly Metro Weekly in a statement: “The President and his Administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying. He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator Franken and Congressman Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator Casey and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.”
The Student Non-Discrimination Act would outlaw discrimination against students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, while the Safe Schools Improvement Act would amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act to include bullying-prevention programs.
“LGBT kids really do need [more] protection. They're two or three times more likely than straight kids to get bullied. Nine in ten LGBT students said they've been bullied or harassed and almost two-thirds say they don't feel safe in school,” Minnesota Congressman Al Franken recently said of his bill.
Reacting to the endorsement, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay rights advocate, said in a statement: “The President's endorsement of the SNDA and SSIA recognizes the importance of providing LGBT students with the same civil rights protections as other students,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “No student should feel scared when walking into their school and these bills would address the discrimination and bullying that our youth have endured for far too long.”
Colorado Congressman Jarred Polis also applauded the president.
“This endorsement is an enormous step forward for equality, but on a human level it is about the right of any student in America to attend school and learn without the fear of being bullied,” he said.
Copyright 2012 On Top Magazine