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Federal Safe Schools Legislation. What are Safe Schools Laws? GLSEN considers “safe schools laws” to be an umbrella term – covering both nondiscrimination.

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Presentation on theme: "Federal Safe Schools Legislation. What are Safe Schools Laws? GLSEN considers “safe schools laws” to be an umbrella term – covering both nondiscrimination."— Presentation transcript:

1 Federal Safe Schools Legislation

2 What are Safe Schools Laws? GLSEN considers “safe schools laws” to be an umbrella term – covering both nondiscrimination laws and anti-bullying laws. GLSEN works with activists to push for such laws at the state and local level and supports federal efforts on both fronts. Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.1

3 Non-Discrimination vs. Anti-Bullying Non-Discrimination Laws Typically designed to regulate how the school treats it’s students. Prohibits school from treating LGBT students differently from other students. Can also cover school inaction such as when schools fail to intervene to stop or respond to anti-LGBT bullying. Anti-Bullying Laws Typically designed to regulate how students treat other students. Prohibits bullying and harassment of any student, including LGBT students. Can be generic or enumerated. Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.2

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6 5 The Safe Schools Improvement Act The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) seeks to address the widespread problem of bullying and harassment in schools, by ensuring that schools and districts adopt enumerated student conduct policies that prohibit bullying and harassment. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would also ensure that:  Schools and districts develop and use comprehensive and effective student conduct policies that include clear prohibitions regarding bullying and harassment;  States and districts maintain and report data regarding incidents of bullying and harassment in order to inform the development of effective federal resources.  States and districts make efforts to ensure that discipline systems do not have disparate impact on any specific categories of students and are focused on restorative strategies.  SSIA’s leads are Rep. Linda Sanchez [CA-38] and Sen. Bob Casey [PA].

7 Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.6 Bullying and harassment "includes conduct that is based on – a student's actual or perceived – race; color; national origin; sex; disability; sexual orientation; gender identity; or religion; any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by a State or local educational agency; or association with a person or group with 1 or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed in clause (i) or (ii).

8 Enumeration © GLSEN 2011 Enumerated policies help create safe schools and reduce absenteeism. Students who attend schools with enumerated policies experience significantly lower severities of victimization related to their sexual orientation or gender expression compared to students with a generic (or non-enumerated) policy. We found that 25% of students in schools with an enumerated policy reported experiencing elevated severities of victimization because of their gender expression compared to 34% of students in schools with a generic policy. Students who attend schools with enumerated policies reported hearing fewer biased-based remarks than students with generic anti-bullying policies. We found that 74% of students in schools with enumerated policies heard phrases like “that’s so gay” often or frequently, compared to 87% of students in schools with generic policies. Students who attend schools with no anti-bullying policy were twice as likely to miss school compared to students with enumerated policies.

9 House 108 th ( ) Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)20 bipartisan cosponsors 109 th ( ) Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)46 bipartisan cosponsors 110 th ( ) Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA)79 bipartisan cosponsors 111 th ( ) Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) 131 bipartisan cosponsors 112 th ( ) Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) 170 bipartisan cosponsors Senate 111 th ( ) Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)17 bipartisan cosponsors 112 th ( ) Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)41 bipartisan cosponsors Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.8 The Safe Schools Improvement Act: Legislative History

10 The Student Nondiscrimination Act The Student Nondiscrimination Act seeks to provide protections from discrimination for LGBT students by creating legal protections similar to existing protections such as Title IX. Should SNDA pass, schools will take proactive measures to limit their liability, such as passing enumerated policies. SNDA’s leads are Rep. Jared Polis [CO-2] and Sen. Al Franken [MN]. Copyright GLSEN, Inc., The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education NetworkAll rights reserved.

11 House Co-Sponsors Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.10

12 Senate Co-Sponsors (out of 100 senators) Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.11

13 The White House Supports Both Bills! On April 20, 2012, GLSEN’s 17 th Annual Day of Silence, the White House released a statement in support of SSIA and SNDA: “These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.”

14 The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.13 The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act requires all colleges and universities that receive federal student aid to have in place a policy to prohibit the harassment of students based on their perceived or actual race, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex or gender identity. Should the bill pass, it would also provide for specific counseling and support programs for victims of bullying and harassment. Tyler Clementi’s leads are Sen. Frank Lautenberg [NJ] and Rep. Rush Holt [NJ- 12]. In the 112 th Congress, The Tyler Clementi Act had 9 cosponsors in the Senate and 42 in the House at the end of the 112 th Congress.

15 The Strategy The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the federal law that governs the nation’s public schools. ESEA is supposed to be “reauthorized” every few years, but last reauthorization was in 2001: No Child Left Behind. SSIA, SNDA (as well as many other education bills) could be incorporated into ESEA reauthorization, although there are other avenues that can also be explored. Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.14

16 The House of Representatives 112 th Congress 113 th Congress Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.15 Democrats:193 Republicans:242 Democrats:200 Republicans:232 Vacant: 3

17 The United States Senate 112 th Congress113 th Congress Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.16 Democrats:51 Republicans:47 Independents: 2 Democrats:53 Republicans:45 Independents: 2

18 The Loss of Swing Districts Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.17

19 Challenges to expect in the 113th Primary focus is expected to be on the budget and immigration reform in the near future. Lack of bipartisanship in both chambers which is reinforced by the shrinking number of swing districts. Department of Education waivers. Both education and LGBT communities have a series of priorities that have to be considered. Other elements of ESEA reauthorization are also controversial. Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.18

20 Opportunities in the 113 th Issue of school safety back in the headlines with recent school shooting. Need for Obama administration to make a more permanent mark on the field of education Increased support for LGBT issues in general, overwhelming public support for efforts to stop bullying. Some support on the GOP side, and actions at the state level that could trickle up. Copyright GLSEN, Inc., the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. All rights reserved.19

21 Shawn Gaylord


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