For Immediate Release


Pedro Julio Serrano, Communications Coordinator
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Task Force Action Fund Applauds Hearing on School Safety Through Bullying Prevention

WASHINGTON - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund has
submitted testimony to the United States House of Representatives
Subcommittees on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
and Healthy Families and Communities of the Committee on Labor and
Education, highlighting the destructive effect of bullying and
harassment on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students
and families. The Task Force Action Fund urged passage of the Safe
Schools Improvement Act, which would fund school programs to prevent
bullying and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived sexual
orientation and gender identity.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

"Schools should be places of safety, not fear. Yet, lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender children and young adults, children and young
adults who are perceived by peers to be LGBT, and the children of LGBT
parents all remain at high risk of aggressive bullying and harassment.
Sadly, the nation has recently witnessed many youth suicides that were
caused by aggressive and unremitting school bullying targeted at a
student's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
This year, for example, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old in
Massachusetts committed suicide because he faced daily and severe
anti-gay bullying. As such examples demonstrate, unsafe schools can
have profoundly destructive consequences.

"Bullying and harassment motivated by homophobia, biphobia and
transphobia are national problems deserving of federal legislative
attention. The Task Force Action Fund welcomes federal measures to
increase school safety that are cognizant of the specific prejudices
faced by LGBT students and families. As one such measure, we ask
Congress to pass H.R. 2262, the Safe Schools Improvement Act,
introduced by Rep. Linda Sanchez. The Safe Schools Improvement Act
would help schools deal with bullying and harassment that target a
student's actual or perceived identity or associations with persons or
groups on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability,
sexual orientation, gender identity or religion. It would send a strong
and clear message that schools have a duty to actively protect all
students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

To read the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund testimony, click here.


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