An Uphill Battle For A Federal Bill To Protect LGBT Students From Bullying

It’s good to know that 120 members of Congress think there should be a law that bans bullying of students on the basis of their actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. The question is whether they can do anything about it.

Rep. Jared Polis, the openly gay Democrat from Colorado (right), and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a gay-friendly Republican (yes, they exist) from Florida, have reintroduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which aims to protect students from harassment.

The bill has some teeth: it allows the federal government to pull dollars out of school districts where bullying occurs. Polis and Ros-Lentinen had 118 other members of the House sign on as co-sponsors. A same bill was introduced two years ago, but it died in committee.

“Discrimination is completely unacceptable in schools,” Polis said in a call with reporters after introducing the bill this time. “Regardless of what adults think … schools need to be a safe place where everybody can go to learn.”

As a former teacher, Ros-Lehtinen seems to recognize from first-hand experience the importance of protecting students. The problem is, no one else in her party does. She is currently the only Republican to sign onto the bill. Since the GOP control the House, the odds that the bill will ever come to a vote this term are slim indeed.

Seems that all the bullies aren’t in just in the schoolyard.

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