- Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the Student Non-Discrimination Act in an effort to prohibit harassment and bullying of LGBT students as an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate's ESEA reauthorization bill.
- On Tuesday, however, his amendment was voted down.
- Franken has introduced the same or similar legislation every year since 2010.
A report released Wednesday by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network found that a majority of schools lack policies that ban bullying of LGBT students. Nearly 30% of school districts have no official anti-bullying policy at all. Of the ones that have a policy, less than half have language specifically banning harassment based on sexual orientation. States like Montana, North Dakota and Oklahoma have a particular paucity of anti-bullying policies. Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Maine and 10 other states have no district-level bans on LGBT harassment.
In The National Climate Survey, more than one in three LGBT students reported a physical assault and almost a third missed school due to fears for their safety.
"You can't learn when you're afraid, when you dread going to school," Franken told Mother Jones. His bill would also have prevented schools from treating LGBT students differently based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. That might have ended practices such as banning same sex couples from prom.
The Senate also rejected an amendment to a No Child Left Behind reform bill that would have established a climate change education program. A vote on the bill is expected Thursday.