Tag Archives: glsen

Trump administration revoking guidelines protecting transgender students

The Trump administration will revoke federal guidelines that tell public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity, the White House said on Feb. 22.

The decision would be a reversal of an Obama-era directive advising public schools to grant students access to facilities in line with their expressed gender identity and not necessarily the gender on their birth certificate.

A government official with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press that the Obama-era guidance would be rescinded, but anti-bullying safeguards would not be changed.

The Obama administration’s guidance was based on its determination that Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education and activities, applies to gender identity.

While not legally binding, the guidance sent a warning that schools could lose federal funding if they did not comply.

Republicans have pushed back, arguing that the federal effort was an example of the Obama administration meddling in state and local matters, and in August 2016, a federal judge in Texas put a temporary hold on the Obama guidance after 13 states sued.

The Washington Post first reported the Trump administration’s plans and LGBT rights groups have been rallying the community to protest for several days.

“By rescinding these protections, the Trump administration is compromising the safety and security of some of our most vulnerable children,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “Reversing this guidance tells trans kids that it’s OK with the Trump administration and the Department of Education for them to be abused and harassed at school for being trans.”

Legal experts said the change in position could impact pending court cases involving the federal sex discrimination law, including a case set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in March, involving a transgender teen who was denied bathroom access in Virginia.

Here’s more reaction to the development…

OutServe-SLDN executive director Matt Thorn: “This action also strikes in contradiction to first lady Melania Trumps’ mission to eradicate bullying and marginalization of our youth in this country. This rescission directly and emphatically opens the door for discrimination and bullying of already vulnerable students who need nurturing and protection.”

GLSEN executive director Dr. Eliza Byard: “While the Trump administration may abandon transgender students, GLSEN never will. This guidance was developed and issued to support transgender students because the reality is that transgender students are far more likely to face severe violence and discrimination at school than their peers, placing them at greatly increased risk of suicide and self-harm as a result. When students are allowed to be themselves, they thrive. This guidance changes and saves lives and hurts no one. It should not be withdrawn.”

Rea Carey, executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force: “Protecting those who are the most vulnerable in our education system should always be a top priority for any President of the United States and his cabinet. Their jobs should be to ensure that all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, receive a top notch education. But Trump isn’t any president: he, Pence, Sessions and DeVos are chomping at the bit to weaken our nation’s public school system and in this instance have reportedly sought to remove the few protections young transgender students have. It’s shameful and we are not going to stand for it. Anyone who agrees that trans and gender nonconforming students deserve equity in our nation’s schools, should join us in calling on this administration to stop working to undermine these protections.”

NEA president Lily Eskelsen García: “Every student matters, and every student has the right to feel safe, welcomed, and valued in our public schools. This is our legal, ethical and moral obligation. The Trump administration’s plans to reverse protections for transgender students by rescinding the Title IX guidance, is dangerous, ill-advised, and unnecessary.

“We reject this discriminatory plan because it is a drastic departure from our core values. We don’t teach hate, we do not tell people how to pray, and we do not discriminate against people based on their religion, gender, or identity. Period.

“As the Trump administration threatens our students and our values, we will double-down on our efforts to protect our most vulnerable citizens, including our LGBTQ students and members. We urge more states, school districts, and schools to adopt protections for transgender students. We owe to our students because they need to see us take a bold stand against discrimination whatever form it takes.”

Call to action on ‘Day of Silence’

Thousands of students across the country will participate on April 15 in GLSEN’s Day of Silence, an annual event that brings attention to the name-calling, bullying and harassment experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in schools.

Students typically take a vow of silence as a symbol of the silencing effect of anti-LGBT language and bullying.

This year, through the theme “Silence is Ours,” the focus will be on reclaiming this silence, shifting it from something forced upon LGBT students to a strategic tool they use to advocate for safe and affirming schools.

GLSEN’s Day of Silence is one of the largest student-led actions in the country, with students from more than 8,000 middle and high schools, colleges and universities in every state.

According to GLSEN’s most recent National School Climate Survey, the only survey on the school experiences of LGBT middle and high school students in the country, 85 percent of LGBT students were verbally harassed at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds heard homophobic remarks frequently or often.

The first Day of Silence was observed in 1996, when students at the University of Virginia responded to a class assignment on non-violent protests

In 1997, organizers took their effort national and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated.

In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event.

Day of Silence on the Web

For more information about the campaign or to register, click here.

For resources, click here.

GLSEN: 90 percent of LGBT students in Wisconsin hear homophobic remarks

 At least nine in 10 LGBT students in Wisconsin say they regularly hear “gay” used in a negative way and almost as many hear other homophobic remarks at school on a regular basis.

These are two findings in the biennial National School Climate Survey released by the Gay, Straight Education Network this week.

The latest edition of GLSEN’s survey, which began in 1999 and remains one of the few studies to examine the middle and high school experiences of LGBT youth nationally, includes four major findings:

• Schools nationwide are hostile environments for a distressing number of LGBT students.

• A hostile school climate affects students’ academic success and mental health.

• Students with LGBT-related resources and supports report better school experiences and academic success.

• School climate for LGBT students has improved somewhat over the years, but remains quite hostile for many.

“The large number of students who reported hearing anti-LGBT language and who continue to experience verbal and physical harassment in Wisconsin’s schools is unacceptable,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s executive director. “GLSEN calls on everyone in Wisconsin to join us in ensuring students and educators are given the resources and supports to create safe and affirming school environments. All members of the school community need to feel empowered to intervene when others are undermining these efforts.”

Specifically in Wisconsin, the survey found:

• The majority of LGBT students experienced verbal harassment: eight in 10 based on their sexual orientation and nearly six in 10 based on the way they expressed their gender.

• Many also experienced physical harassment and physical assault. Nearly four in 10 students were physically harassed based on their sexual orientation, and more than one in 10 were physically assaulted based on the way they expressed their gender.

• Only 19 percent said they were taught positive representations of LGBT people, history and events, and less than half could access information about LGBT communities on school Internet.

“Our research tells us that policymakers and education leaders in Wisconsin must do more to create safer and more affirming schools for LGBT students,” said Dr. Joseph G. Kosciw, GLSEN’s chief research and strategy officer. “Training and empowering educators to create supportive environments, supporting Gay-Straight Alliances and increasing access to accurate and positive information about LGBT people, history and events and inclusive policies all can improve school climate for all students in Wisconsin.”

Students, educators observe No Name-Calling Week

Thousands of schools across the country are celebrating the 10th anniversary of GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week this week, an annual event during which educators emphasize kindness and compassion as a means to eliminate name-calling and bullying of all kinds.

“GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week provides schools with an opportunity to engage students in a dialogue about how they can play a role in addressing name-calling and bullying,” GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard said. “Over the past 10 years, No Name-Calling Week has reached tens of thousands of K-12 classrooms and become an established part of the school calendar. It is heartening to see schools embrace positivity as an important component of bullying prevention – celebrating kindness and fostering a culture of respect.”

Schools participate in a variety of ways but usually incorporate lesson plans and activities found on nonamecallingweek.org, such as writing classroom name-calling policies, encouraging students to sign a pledge to be kind to each other, and creating a No Name-Calling Week Creative Expressions Exhibit.

No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the popular young adult novel “The Misfits” by author James Howe. The book tells the story of four students who have each experienced name-calling and who decide to run for student council on the platform of creating a No Name-Calling Day at school.

Together with “The Misfits” publisher Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, GLSEN created No Name-Calling Week in 2004 to encourage schools to dedicate a week of the year to improving school climate. Since then, No Name-Calling Week has grown into one of the largest bullying-prevention initiatives in the country. The program is designed for use at all grade levels.

“I’m incredibly proud of what GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week has been able to accomplish,” said Howe, who wrote a blog post for GLSEN in the voice of one of “The Misfits” characters celebrating the 10-year anniversary. “It’s been an honor to see an idea in one of my books spark a conversation in thousands of schools about how young people can learn to respect each other’s differences. I look forward to the day when bullying and name-calling are no longer a problem in our nation’s schools.”

According to “From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America,” a 2005 Harris Interactive report commissioned by GLSEN, 47 percent of middle and high school students identified bullying, name-calling or harassment as a somewhat or very serious problem at their school. Additionally, 65 percent of middle and high school students reported being verbally or physically harassed or assaulted in the previous year because of a personal characteristic. Nearly a third of these students who were assaulted or harassed said that school staff did nothing in response when the incident was reported.

In GLSEN’s “Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States,” 75 percent of elementary school students reported that students at their school are called names, made fun of or bullied with at least some regularity. Most commonly this is because of students’ looks or body size, not being good at sports, how well they do at schoolwork, not conforming to traditional gender norms/roles or because other people think they are gay.

GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week is supported by the No Name-Calling Week Coalition, comprised of more than 60 national partner organizations including the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the American School Counselor Association and the National School Boards Association.

Study: Internet bullying is rampant

The text message flashes on the iPhone. The girl’s smile disappears as she reads: “I KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU, YOU DYKE.” She looks at the other students in the school hallway. What are they thinking? What are they saying?

This is not a scene from “Pretty Little Liars.” Studies show that bullying online, through social media networks and in text messages, is pervasive – and LGBT youth are more likely to be targets than other kids.

New research from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network shows that LGBT youth experience three times as much bullying and harassment online as other kids. Although the research found that LGBT youth find greater peer support, access to critical information and connect with the larger community online, it also linked cyber bullying to lower grade-point averages and diminished self-esteem.

The study, “Out Online,” examined the experiences of LGBT youth in the digital world through a national survey of more than 5,600 students in grades 6–12.

The research showed that about 42 percent of LGBT youth have been bullied or harassed online compared with 15 percent of non-LGBT youth. Researchers also found that LGBT youth are twice as likely as other youth to say they’ve been bullied via text message.

One in four LGBT youth has been bullied online because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and one in five has experienced anti-LGBT harassment in a text message.

The study also revealed that one in four LGBT youth has been sexually harassed online, and LGBT youth are three times as likely as other kids to be sexually harassed via text message.

LGBT kids told GLSEN’s researchers that they’re just as likely to feel unsafe in the digital or cyber realm as at school or on a school bus.

HELPING TO COPE

But researchers also found positives in the number of young people online and the resources readily available there to kids.

“The Internet does not serve to simply reinforce the negative dynamics found offline regarding bullying and harassment,” said Michele Ybarra, the president of the Center for Innovative Public Health Research. “Rather, this technology also offers LGBT youth critical tools for coping with these negative experiences, including access to understanding and accepting friends, and exposure to health information that is unavailable elsewhere.”

“Out Online” showed that about 81 percent of LGBT youth turn to the Internet to find health information, about 76 percent have gone online to promote a cause and 51 percent have used the Internet to engage in a community event.

Moreover, about half of LGBT youth have made at least one close friend or confidante online.

“The Internet impacts almost all aspects of our lives, but is particularly entrenched in the lives of youth, who are the most connected people online in society,” GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard said. “LGBT youth continue to face extraordinary obstacles in their day-to-day lives, whether at school or online, but the Internet can be a valuable source of information and support when they have no one or nowhere else left to turn to. As social media evolve, so must our efforts to serve LGBT youth to ensure their safety, health and well-being.”

Byard and other policymakers, along with educators, parents and students, are discussing bullying as the 2013–14 school year begins.

The national PTA is advising parents to learn to use the technologies their kids are using, to be interested in their kids’ friends and activities – online or offline – and to ask about any changes in behavior.

The National Education Association is encouraging members to engage in its Stand Up to Bullying campaign.

Meanwhile, LGBT youth groups, including a number of gay-straight alliances in Wisconsin, are training student leaders who can stand up for themselves and help others. Madison’s GSAFE in Madison held its Leadership Institute Training camp in mid-August, bringing together 40 students from throughout the state to spend four days building community, gaining leadership skills, and learning how to make their schools safer and more just for all students.

Also, many school districts around the nation are preparing anti-bullying campaigns. Wisconsin public schools will observe Bullying Awareness Day on Sept. 25.

And the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights recently announced it would begin collecting information on LGBT bullying in schools across the country.

Still, reformers continue to call for stronger legislation to protect LGBT students. Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, introduced the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013. The comprehensive legislation would reauthorize and update the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and incorporate provisions in the proposed Safe Schools Improvement and the Student Non-Discrimination acts.

The legislation would ensure that states and school districts develop and implement anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies that include all students, report incidents of bullying and harassment to the Justice Department and formally establish a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools.

“We are thrilled that the Senate is moving to address the long overdue issue of school bullying and harassment,” Byard said. “This bill includes critical components to ensure safer learning environments.”

Twitter counter: GLSEN’s thinkb4youspeak.com Twitter Counter tracks the number of times in a day, week and month that anti-gay slurs are tweeted. In July, “fag” was tweeted 835,560 times; “dyke,” 85,560 times, “so gay,” 304,920.

LGBT community news roundup

The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce recently received the Excellence in Community Impact Award at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce leadership conference in Dallas.

The national group recognized the Wisconsin chamber for nurturing relationships with city chambers and business districts, as well as engaging with the Coalition for Ethnical Diverse Chambers of Commerce in Milwaukee. The Wisconsin organization also has cultivated partnerships with philanthropic and nonprofit groups.

“NGLCC affiliate chambers like the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce are leveraging every possible opportunity for businesses to grow and become strong engines that drive local economies,” said Sam McClure of NGLCC. “This new chamber came out of the gate very strong, and we are very glad to be their national partner.”

For more, visit www.wislgbtchamber.com.

In other news…

• Organizations concerned about the erosion of women’s rights under Wisconsin’s Republican leadership are staging a rally noon–1 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Capitol. For more, go to the Facebook page Stand with Wisconsin Women. 

• GLSEN is accepting nominations for Student Advocate of the Year, the annual award created to recognize “the amazing work of students advocating for LGBT rights and safe schools across the country.” Applications are due by Aug. 29. For more, visit www.glsen.org.

• Fair Wisconsin’s Garden Party for Equality is Sept. 8 at a private residence in Milwaukee. The suggested contribution is $50 and sponsorships are available. For more, go to fairwisconsin.com.

• Food Slam on Sept. 13 raises money for WMSE Radio. The event is at 6 p.m. at MSOE Grohmann Museum with a long list of participating vendors. For more, go to www.wmse.org.

• Family Equality Council gets outdoors for Family Camp at Camp One Heartland in Willow River, Minn., Sept. 20–22. The camp is about 90 miles north of the Twin Cities. For more, go to www.familyequality.org.

• Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee is preparing for the 2013 Women and Public Policy Luncheon, held at noon on Oct. 23 in Milwaukee. The keynote speaker is Michelle Bernard, CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy and a frequent political analyst for TV news. For more, visit www.womensfundmke.org.

LGBT youth, advocates plan for back to school

LGBT youth and advocates at every level are busily preparing for a safer, more equal school year.

In Wisconsin, the 13th Annual Leadership Training Institute, a four-day camp begins Aug. 10, presented by Wisconsin’s Gay, Straight Alliance for Safe Schools.

GSAFE booked the camp at the MacKenzie Environmental Education Center in Poynette, where 35 students will get training through workshops, team-building exercises and discussion forums “to build a team of strong GSA activists in Wisconsin and help transition GSA leadership down to younger students,” said Tim Michael, GSAFE GSA outreach manager.

The camp, said Michael, “trains current GSA students to return to their schools in the fall with the skills, motivation and support they need to be leaders.”

Last school year, Wisconsin had 143 active GSAs in high schools and middle schools.

“Most of these GSAs are in public schools, and with 426 public school districts in Wisconsin, that means that about one in three school districts has a GSA,” Michael said.

Expanding the number of GSAs is a goal for 2012-13.

Establishing safe zones at schools is another goal.

Last year, GSAFE worked with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to send safe-space kits to every GSA in Wisconsin.

For the 2012-13 school year, GLSEN launched a nationwide campaign to encourage alumni to send safe-space kits – each pack- age costs $20 – to every middle school and high school in the United States.

GSAFE also offers to assist educators and administrators in creating safe-school zones.

“We often hear from students that it makes a huge difference when a teacher establishes a safe zone in their classroom from day one, making clear their expectations for respectful behavior and spelling out what kind of language will not be allowed in their classroom,” Michael said.

He added, “If a school district is interested in learning more about what that looks like, they can contact GSAFE and we would be more than happy to assist them with that, or set up a safe-zone training for their staff.”

It’s important for protection and policies to be consistent in a school building. “We believe that anti-LGBT language and behavior should be addressed consistently throughout a school building, and we hope that school staff include conversations about how that will happen at the start of the school year,” Michael said.

The GSAFE representative identified several other major efforts for the Madison-based nonprofit in the 2012-13 school year:

  • Strengthening regional work. “We are looking to build stronger infrastructure and relationships in key regions of Wisconsin,” Michael said.
  • Strengthening racial and economic justice by establishing programs and staff positions “devoted to working with students of color and low-income youth who are also LGBTQ” and  “incorporating racial and economic justice into all of our work.”
  • Advancing educational justice so that youth of color, low-income youth, and youth with disabilities all thrive. This work includes helping to build a statewide educational justice coalition to build community support for statewide and school-district level educational justice policy.”

On a national level, the National Education Association also is focused on educational and social justice in 2012-13. At            the union’s            summer assembly, NEA executive director John Stocks challenged educators to become “social justice patriots” and “valiantly fight every day to make America live up to its promise.”

“NEA members keep standing strong, keep fighting for justice, keep fighting for our students,” Stocks said, rallying the teachers returning to the classrooms for a new term.

The 2012-13 calendar, depending on the outcome of the November elections, also may include congressional action on several education reform bills.

One measure, H.R. 998, or the Student Non-Discrimination Act, would establish a federal prohibition of discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It would provide legal remedies, modeled after Title IX.

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., is the bill’s sponsor in the House, while Minnesota Democrat Al Franken has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

In April, the president endorsed the measure, along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who said, “Bullying can no longer be seen as a normal rite of passage. As a country, we must all work together to take action against bullying and improve the safety climates of our schools and communities. That’s why I support the Student Non-Discrimination

Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.”

Duncan was the keynote speaker at the Education Department’s third annual bullying prevention summit.

Held Aug. 6-7 in Washington, D.C., the event also featured speeches by Maryland first lady Katie O’Malley, White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and Cynthia Germanotta, mother of musician-activist Lady Gaga.

Backing at school

The following groups offer support and advocacy for LGBT students in Wisconsin:

Gay, Straight Alliance for Safe Schools: Promotes safe schools for LGBT middle schoolers and high schoolers in Wisconsin, especially with support for gay-straight alliances.

OutThere: Based in Madison, OT supports LGBT adults ages 18-24.

Proud Theater: Promotes self-expression, supports LGBT youth in Madison.

Teens Like Us: Supports Madison LGBT youth.

GALAXY: Supports LGBT teens ages 14-19 in La Crosse.

Gay Youth Milwaukee: Supports LGBT Milwaukee youth.

Project Q: Supports LGBT youth in Milwaukee.

Students for a Fair Wisconsin: Promotes young LGBT adults, sponsors fairness campaigns.

College Groups: Marquette University Gay/Straight Alli- ance, St. Norbert College Rainbow Alliance, UW-Eau Claire Spectrum, UW-Green Bay Sexuality and Gender Alliance- Fair Wisconsin, UW-La Crosse Pride Center, UW-Madison LGBT Campus Center, UW-Madison Ten Percent Society, UW Law School QLaw, UW Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,Trans- gender Alumni Council, UW-Milwaukee LGBT Resource Center, UW-Oshkosh LGBTQ Resource Center, UW-Park- side LGBT Resource Center, UW-Parkside Rainbow Alliance, UW-Platteville Alliance, UW-Stevens Point GSA , UW-Stout Out @ Stout, UW-Superior Queer and Allied Student Union and UW-Whitewater IMPACT.

For the record

Wisconsin law bans discrimination and harassment based on real or perceived sexual orientation, but not based on gender identity or expression.

In 2010, the state also enacted anti-bullying legislation requiring districts to develop an anti- bullying policy or adopt the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction policy.

Gay rights activist Jennings to lead social justice group

Longtime gay rights activist Kevin Jennings has been hired to lead The Arcus Foundation, a leading global foundation on social justice and conservation issues.

The foundation announced the appointment of Jennings as executive director in a news release on July 13. He starts work there in September.

Jennings currently is the CEO of Be the Change, Inc., where he was instrumental in launching the “Opportunity Nation” campaign to promote economic opportunity and social mobility in the United States.

“Kevin brings an impressive set of experiences, skills and accomplishments that are perfectly suited to our goals and complemented by a record of infectious leadership,” said Arcus founder and president Jon Stryker. “His qualifications and lifelong commitment to the work and values that are at the core of Arcus make him a natural and compelling choice.”

“I have had tremendous exposure to and admiration for the Arcus Foundation’s work since its founding 12 years ago,” Jennings said in a news release. “I could not be more excited about joining the team and helping to advance the Foundation’s ambitions for justice and humanity, which map so closely to my own.”

Jennings has served as assistant deputy secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

He also founded and led the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students and educators. 

Prior to founding GLSEN, Jennings taught high school history at the Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I., and at Concord Academy in Concord, Mass., where he was the faculty advisor of America’s first gay-straight alliance.

Jennings also was instrumental in promoting gay history month in October.

GLSEN selling safe-space kits for schools

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network has launched the Safe Space Campaign to place a Safe Space Kit resource in every middle and high school in the country.

GLSEN is encouraging former students to purchase a kit for their old school or to purchase a kit for a school in their community.

The $20 kit includes a 42-page guide for educators, safe-space stickers and posters.

The group will begin mailing the kits in mid-August for the new term.

For more, go to safespace.glsen.org.

 

Obama calls for passage of safe-schools bills

President Barack Obama, on the 17th annual Day of Silence, called for passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

A White House statement said, “The president and his administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying. He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator Franken and Congressman Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator Casey and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

The Day of Silence, supervised by GLSEN, and held each April to protest harassment and discrimination of LGBT students, took place in schools throughout the United States on April 20.

GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard and GLSEN national board member Sirdeaner Walker responded to the White House announcement.

“Today’s announcement is a vital show of support to students everywhere of all identities, backgrounds and beliefs who face bullying and harassment in school,” said Byard. “By speaking out on GLSEN’s Day of Silence in support of these two critical bills, the president has given greater hope to students who often feel that they have nowhere to turn. It is deeply moving to know that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who face the multiple threats of harassment, violence and discrimination have the President as an ally in their efforts to win all of the protections that they deserve.”

“Today is a day that I have hoped for since I began my work as an anti-bullying advocate after losing my son Carl,” said Walker. “I believe that President Obama’s explicit endorsement of the Safe Schools Improvement Act will make a tremendous difference in moving this issue forward. Having met with the president three times, I knew his support for SSIA and the Student Non-Discrimination Act was genuine. But stating that publicly on GLSEN’s Day of Silence pushes it to a whole new level. While nothing can bring Carl back, I know that these bills can make a real difference to end the bullying and harassment that is faced by too many other sons and daughters today.”

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