On Tuesday, December 20, PFLAG leaders in Illinois teamed up with Equality Illinois and students from a local GSA for meetings with Senator Mark Kirk’s staff in Chicago to urge the Senator to sign on as a cosponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA). This bill would provide explicit federal protections for LGBT students from harassment and discrimination in school settings nationwide.
When Senator Kirk’s staffer expressed her boss’ concerns about the potential increase in lawsuits against school districts under SNDA, Revered Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle cited data showing that Illinois school districts that had implemented similar laws locally, experienced a decrease in litigation. PFLAG members pointed out that litigation is usually the last resort in bullying cases, and is only pursued in extreme cases where school districts did nothing to solve ongoing problems.
At the end of the meeting, Caroline Staerk, Field Director for Equality Illinois, hand-delivered over 1,000 signed anti-bullying pledges that her organization from constituents all across the state expressing their strong support for SNDA’s desperately needed federal protections.
As Senator Kirk and his Senate colleagues consider including SNDA in the broader reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), it is critical that we reach out to all of our Senators through in-district visits, phone calls and letters expressing our support for this critical legislation.
Senator Al Franken, who introduced SNDA to the Senate, has been working hard to garner support for this bill. He has asked PFLAG members and other organizations for LGBT equality to urge their Senators to become cosponsors of SNDA.
Take Action – Please watch and share Senator Franken’s message about the importance of SNDA for LGBT youth: www.alfranken.com/snda.