WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill was introduced Jan. 27 in the House by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) that would, as Title IX did for girls and women, offer remedies for discrimination “based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity” in public elementary and secondary schools. The Student Non-Discrimination Act will help to end entrenched biases towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students in the nation’s education system.
“Every day, innocent students fall victim to relentless harassment and discrimination from teachers, staff and fellow students based on their sexual orientation,” said Polis in a statement. “These actions not only hurt our students and our schools but, left unchecked, can also lead to life-threatening violence.
“Like Title VI for minorities in the ’60s and Title IX for women in the ’70s, my legislation puts LGBT students on an equal footing with their peers, so they can attend school and get a quality education, free from fear.”
The American Civil Liberties Union also strongly supports the bill and urged swift action by the House.
“This landmark bill is long overdue. Many LGBT students face harassment, discrimination and sometimes violence in our schools,” said ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Christopher Anders. “Our public schools should not be places of exclusion, but places where students feel safe and free from discrimination. The Student Non-Discrimination Act will go a long way toward protecting LGBT students and will help promote a better learning environment. We urge the House to take swift action on this bill.”