Obama Touts Safe Schools Act

The president addresses anti-gay bullying on the 17th Annual Day of Silence

Bully – the film that goes behind the scenes of a disturbing epidemic in our nation’s schools – was screened at the White House last week. Following the presentation, President Obama said that he endorses a Safe Schools Improvement Act, which was introduced by PA Senator Bob Casey, and the Student Non-Discrimination Act – two initiatives that would bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying in American schools.

“The President and his administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying,” says an official White House 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.”

GLSEN and the ACLU have already backed the president’s statement, which was made during the 17th Annual Day of Silence. “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,” says GLSEN’s Executive Director Eliza Byard.

Nearly 90 percent of LGBT students report being harassed in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a GLSEN survey of 7,000 students. Thirty percent of LGBT students have missed a day of school at some point in the past month out of fear of being the target of violence.

As of last month, the Student Non-Discrimination Act has support from about a third of the Senate.