Press Room

October 17, 2011

Category: Federal Advocacy, Youth & Campus, Bullying

Senate Committee Has Opportunity to Protect LGBT Students on Day Commemorating Bullying Victims

Panel to finish mark-up of education bill on “Spirit Day” when Americans don purple to support young people

10/17/2011

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today called on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee to add protections for LGBT students to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill when it is marked-up on Wednesday and Thursday.  The committee’s work on the bill coincides with “Spirit Day” on Thursday where supporters of LGBT students wear purple to bring attention to the harms caused by bullying.

“No student should suffer from anti-LGBT bullying or discrimination and this week Senators have an opportunity to do something about this critical issue,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “As ‘Spirit Day’ sweeps the nation this week, it should be seen as a call to action for Congress.”

Senators Bob Casey, D-Penn., and Al Franken, D-Minn., are expected to offer amendments to the ESEA modeled after their bills – the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).  In complimentary ways, both bills will help protect students from bullying and discrimination by requiring schools to be more responsive.

Today HRC launched a new Facebook application that encourages users to send messages of support for Spirit Day.  The app is available at: https://apps.facebook.com/hrc-spiritday/.  Additionally, last week the organization launched an action to members and supporters in states where their Senator sits on the HELP committee, asking them to urge Congressional action on this critical issue.  HRC has also urged Congressional allies and their staff to wear purple on Thursday to mark Spirit Day.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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