LGBT Friendly Anti-Bullying Bill Heading for Key June Vote

Rep. Jared Polis has indicated that the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SENDA) is on track to receive a key Senate Committee vote come June.

The legislation, introduced in the House by Rep. Polis (D-COL), would add to existing federal statutes explicit protections against bullying on the grounds of perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

If schools receiving federal funds do not adequately combat and track incidents of anti-LGBT bullying or if school administrators are found to have discriminated against LGBT children then, under the bill, their federal funding may be cut.

More from the Washington Blade:

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a gay lawmaker who works on education issues, said Monday the Senate panel with jurisdiction over education reform is set to consider the Elementary & Secondary Education Act reauthorization in June.

“It’s a very complex area of law, and it’ll begin with Senate markups in June as Chairman [Tom] Harkin has indicated he plans to hold,” Polis said during a conference call hosted by the Center for American Progress.


Polis predicted Harkin’s initial mark for Elementary & Secondary Education Act reauthorization wouldn’t contain the pro-LGBT measures and suggested a vote would take place in committee to include SNDA in the larger bill.

“Although we don’t expect to see SNDA in the chairman’s mark of the initial bill, we are optimistic we can amend the ESEA because all but one of the Democrats on the committee are co-sponsors of the Student Non-Discrimination Act,” Polis said.

In the Senate, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) sponsors SNDA. He’s a member of the Senate HELP committee, so any amendment to include this measure as part of Elementary & Secondary Education Act reauthorization would likely come from him.

As of last week, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) was the sole Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee who wasn’t a co-sponsor of SNDA.

But Stephanie Allen, a Hagan spokesperson, said her boss this week signed on as co-sponsor for the student non-discrimination bill.

Hagan’s co-sponsorship means Democrats on the HELP committee are unanimous in their support for SNDA. Additionally, her support brings the total number of SNDA supporters on the panel to 12, the majority needed for passage in committee.

[Read more over at the Washington Blade.]

Hill insiders have cautioned that how action on education reform will be undertaken remains undecided however, and so movement on SENDA is not guaranteed even with conditions looking favorable.

It is hoped that, should the bill reach the Senate floor, Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill) would be open to co-sponsoring the bill. Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would also appear to be strong candidates for supporting the legislation based on previous support for LGBT friendly bills.

How far SNDA would progress in the U.S. House with a seemingly hostile GOP majority remains to be seen, however SNDA would appear on better footing as part of an overall education reform package than if it were a stand-alone bill. 


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to John Steven Fernandez.


Tracey D.
Tracey D7 years ago

signed the petition. Thanks for the article.

Brenda Gilbert
Brenda Gilbert7 years ago

Please let's put all our energies to support this initiative. Fears and worries and doubts about the outcome simply serve to muddy the waters. Clear, positive belief that - not only can it happen but that it actually already HAS happened will help greatly. Please can we all work together on this??

Lyllyan Blare
Lyllyan Blare7 years ago

I fully support this bill, and I, too, will be praying that it is passed.

I agree with Tom Co that children should also be taught about tolerance, respect and acceptance. Acceptance is not a synonym for agreement, which I think most people don't fully understand. I may disagree with someone, but that doesn't mean I'm not capable of accepting their differing opinion.

Thanks for this article!

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal7 years ago

While teaching respect and dignity to the students, don't forget we educators and other adults could learn a few tips as well....

Marcheal G.
Marcheal G7 years ago

If we could all just get along we would be ok.

Tony Co
Tony C7 years ago

A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation, children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anybody else. Common sense would dictate that if children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help not tease or bully.
Later on Sex Education should be taught from Contraceptives, Masturbation,LGBT and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier and earlier. They should be taught the joys and the consequences of having sex ( Pregnancy,STD, AIDS ) But you say when will this be taught. Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in and remove Geometry and Algebra. They can learn this in college if need be. I believe this is a solution. Nipping it in the Bud so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principals where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

Tom Y.
Tom Y7 years ago

It's too narrow in its focus, too partial to one group -- to the point of neglecting other victims. Thus, too political to be much good. The situation with bullying needs a much more comprehensive approach and shouldn't involve adults' sexual politics.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L7 years ago

I can't see this passing with the Repubicans incharge. I may be surprise, if so, that would be nice.

Ashley N.
Ashley N7 years ago

Good, this really needs to be passed.

Linda T.
Linda T7 years ago

Thanks for the info. Good deal. Signed petition. What will TN do?