President Obama Pushes for Safe Schools Act
Following a White House screening of the documentary Bully, President Obama endorsed both the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
The president made the announcement on Friday, the 17th annual Day of Silence, where LGBT students and allies sustain a vow of non-verbal communication to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
"The President and his Administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying," according to the White House's official statement. "He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator [Al] Franken and Congressman [Jared] Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator [Bob] 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."
Obama's actions were heralded by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, with executive director Eliza Byard saying in a statement that, "Today's announcement is a vital show of support to students everywhere of all identities, backgrounds, and beliefs who face bullying and harassment in school."
The president was asked to support the bills in a March letter from 70 organizations. As of last month, the SNDA has about a third of the Senate signed up as cosponsors, but it often takes 60 votes to get anything through there these days. It remains to be seen how such legislation will fair in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.
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