The Trevor Project affirms the right of all young people to access safe and respectful public education that is free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. We call upon schools to ensure the safety of all young people by creating safe spaces and supportive student groups, using resources and curriculum that are inclusive, making mental health counseling services readily available and accessible to all students at all times, and addressing bullying and harassment through approaches that emphasize education, prevention, and intervention. Recognizing that suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses as well as the second leading cause of death overall for youth ages 10 to 24.1 The Trevor Project actively supports inclusive regulations and policies affecting institutions of higher education.
Bullying and harassment in schools can have a huge negative impact on LGBTQ young people’s mental health – which can increase their risk for suicide.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) helps make sure that school districts:
- Clearly and inclusively address bullying and harassment
- Encourage prevention strategies and professional training for school staff
- Report data related to bullying and harassment to help create effective prevention programs
Status: Sponsored by Representative Linda Sanchez and Senators Bob Casey and Mark Kirk.
While some states prohibit discrimination against students, young people do not have complete nondiscrimination protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity at the federal level.
The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) will:
- Create comprehensive federal protections against discrimination in public schools on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity
- Prompt schools to proactively deal with discrimination, including bullying and harassment
- Provide meaningful remedies for discrimination
Status: Sponsored by Representative Jared Polis and Senator Al Franken.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Available from www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars.