HRC Blog

HRC Supports Introduction of Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students Act of 2011

Today, HRC joined a coalition of organizations in support of Senator Harkin’s (D-IA) introduction of the “Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students Act of 2011” (SSHSA). SSHSA will authorize $1 billion in grants to States to develop comprehensive, data-driven and evidence-based programs that promote student health and wellness, prevent bullying, violence and drug use, and foster a positive school climate. In order to be grant eligible, local education agencies will have to establish policies to prohibit and prevent bullying and harassment of all students, including LGBT students.

As has been well-documented, bullying and harassment of students who are, or are perceived to be, LGBT is widespread.  Studies have shown that bullying and harassment contributes to high rates of absenteeism, dropout, adverse health consequences, and academic underachievement.  When left unchecked, such bullying and harassment can lead to, and has led to, dangerous situations for young people.

In the 2009 National School Climate Survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, nearly three-fifths of students reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third felt unsafe because of their gender expression.  LGBT students, like all other students, deserve a healthy school environment.  The SSHSA, as well as the SSIA and SNDA, will provide schools, teachers and students with the resources they need to create a positive school environment for all students, including LGBT students.

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