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AHA signs letter supporting Student Non-Discrimination Act provisions in education bill

The American Humanist Association has signed the below letter in support of the Student Non-Discrimination Act as part of a Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network coalition.

June 11, 2013

The Honorable Tom Harkin
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
United States Senate                                                    
731 Hart Senate Office Building                                                                                

Dear Chairman Harkin:

We are writing to thank you for making the Student Non-Discrimination Act part of your Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization bill (the "Strengthening America's Schools Act of 2013").  We represent a richly diverse group of organizations which are collaborating to prevent discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in public schools.

As you know, students who are (or are perceived to be) LGBT are subjected to pervasive discrimination, including harassment and bullying. The harassment youth experience in school deprives them of equal educational opportunities by increasing their likelihood of skipping school, underperforming academically, and dropping out. Left unchecked, this harassment can contribute to even more devastating consequences, including suicide. Furthermore, while discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, national origin and religion are expressly addressed in federal civil rights laws or the Constitution, they do not explicitly cover sexual orientation or gender identity. As a result, parents of LGBT students have limited legal recourse when schools fail to protect their children from discrimination.      

We hope Congress will swiftly act to address discrimination of LGBT students as part of ESEA reauthorization.  Thank you again for your leadership on this critical issue.  We look forward to working with you to ensure that in the future all kids have an opportunity to learn in positive, safe and healthy schools.    

Sincerely,

African-American Ministers In Action
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
American Counseling Association
American Dance Therapy Association
American Federation of Teachers
American Humanist Association
American Psychological Association
American School Counselor Association
Amnesty International USA
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Center for Inquiry
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Committee for Children
Equality Federation
Family Equality Council
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Human Rights Campaign
Interfaith Alliance
Metropolitan Community Churches
National Association for Multicultural Education
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Jewish Women
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
National Minority AIDS Council
National Women’s Law Center
PACER Center
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National
People For the American Way
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights
School Social Work Association of America
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)
The Trevor Project

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