This bipartisan bill was reintroduced in the House as H.R. 1957 by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) on April 5, 2017. It has not yet be reintroduced in the Senate.
SSIA would amend the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act—part of the No Child Left Behind Act—and instruct school districts to implement a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that includes specific enumeration for sexual orientation and gender identity as well as require states to include bullying and harassment data in the surveys conducted statewide to distinguish what needs are unmet in their schools.
PFLAG Talking Points
- Bullying and harassment harm children in our nation’s schools. According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)’s 2013 National School Climate Survey, 55.5% of LGBT students feel unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation, and 37.8% felt unsafe at school due to their gender identity. Yet only 17 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive legislation that protects students against anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment.
- Comprehensive anti-bullying and harassment policies work. Enumerated (i.e. specifically naming sexual orientation and gender identity or expression) anti-bullying policies are the most effective at addressing anti-LGBTQ and bias-based bullying.
- The bill cultivates respect which will create safer schools. The bill provides language ensuring that all students have a safe learning environment which helps reduce the nation’s growing dropout rate. Research shows that bullying and harassment are serious problems that impede students’ academic progress and overall mental health. GLSEN research has also found that nearly one-third of all students missed at least one day of school in the past month due to feeling unsafe or uncomfortable and 19.8% of students who did not plan to graduate or were unsure if they would graduate reported the reason they felt that way was due to mental health concerns.