- February 26, 2015
Last night, the Rules Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives blocked an amendment that would have protected LGBT students from discrimination in their schools.
The Rules Committee, an extension of the Republican-controlled House leadership, was tasked with deciding which amendments would be allowed to be offered to amend the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). They rejected consideration of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would expressly prohibit public schools from discriminating against any student on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The amendment had been offered by Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), along with Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) and the other co-chairs of the LGBT Equality Caucus, Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
Many LGBT students are subject to pervasive discrimination, including harassment, bullying, intimidation, and violence. They have been deprived of equal educational opportunities in schools in every part of our nation. Numerous social science studies demonstrate that discrimination at school has contributed to high rates of absenteeism, dropout, adverse health consequences, and academic underachievement among LGBT youth.
We are extremely disappointed that Republican leadership on this Committee refused to even allow for a vote on this important measure. All students deserve to learn in an environment free from discrimination and harassment.