Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Summary & History

Additional Civil Rights

Legislation: The Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act

STATUS: Pending, Federal

In response to a number of tragic recent instances of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment against young people – too many of which resulted the growing rates of absenteeism, dropout, adverse health consequences, and academic underachievement among LGBT youth, as well as the lack of adequate federal statutory protections, NCLR has joined many of our colleagues and The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) would expressly prohibit discriminatory treatment towards students on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools. Specifically, SNDA would prohibit express harassment against a student based on his or her actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as discriminatory actions that would exclude that student from participation in his or her academic learning. Similarly, SNDA would provide protection for students who brought claims under SNDA and prohibit any retaliatory actions by the school and its employees as a result of those claims.

Congress proposed the Student Non-Discrimination Act to ensure that  all students in elementary and secondary schools across the country have equal access to public education, and equal educational opportunities, in an environment free from discrimination, including harassment, bullying, intimidation, and violence. Under the Student Non-Discrimination Act, students would have a meaningful legal recourse and effective remedial option in a manner that is similar to other civil rights claims made under the 14th Amendment and the general welfare provision of Article 1, section 8.

In April 2012, the Obama Administration officially endorsed the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

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