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HomeLGBT IssuesSafe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA)

dent3Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent has just signed on as a sponsor of the Safe Schools Improvement Act, a critical bill that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students.

And the best thing about it: he’s sponsoring the bill because of you! Congressman Dent’s announcement comes on the heels of a meeting with Equality Pennsylvania representatives and constituents — and follows dozens of phone calls and messages from supporters like you.

The Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) would require schools and districts to adopt policies specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment against all students, including LGBT young people. Research shows that policies like the one required in the SSIA actually make students feel safer — so it’s critical that we move this bill forward.

Congressman Dent’s sponsorship of the bill — as a Republican — gives the SSIA a major boost. Leave a message for Congressman Dent on Facebook: let him know you appreciate his leadership on this important issue.

I don’t have to tell you: LGBT students experience bullying and harassment at alarming rates: 82% report being verbally harassed, 38% report being physically harassed, and 18% report being assaulted at school. The harassment that LGBT students experience far too often has been shown to contribute to high rates of absenteeism and dropout, adverse health consequences, and academic underachievement.

The stories we’ve heard when talking with young people throughout Pennsylvania bring these statistics to life. A gay student’s GPA falls after he comes out — because the bullying impacts his concentration. A transgender young person skips class once a month because she’s too scared to attend.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that students need to feel safe at school in order to learn. Congressman Dent is standing up for all young people, sponsoring a bill that would help protect some of the most vulnerable students in our schools. As a Republican, he’s showing Congress that creating safe and inclusive learning environments is not a partisan issue — it’s the right thing to do.

Click here to tell Congressman Dent: thank you for protecting all young people.

No one should have to face bullying and harassment just because of who they are. Today, we’re one step closer to making sure that every student is safe and respected in school.

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