Earlier this afternoon, following a screening of the documentary Bully at the White House, the Obama administration officially endorsed the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
The Student Non-Discrimination Act would provide LGBT students, and those perceived to be, with explicit federal protections by establishing a comprehensive prohibition against discrimination and harassment in all public elementary and secondary schools across the country based on a student's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Importantly, the legislation also protects students who associate with LGBT people, including students with LGBT parents and friends.
Bully shines much needed light on what is a serious, national problem. As the film shows, students who are, or presumed to be LGBT are an especially vulnerable population in our nation's schools. Despite this fact, in the year 2012, there is no federal law in place that explicitly protects students from discrimination and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The Student Non-Discrimination would change that by explicitly bringing LGBT student under the protections of federal civil rights laws.
Until today, the administration would only say that it "strongly supports the goals" of SNDA. Today's endorsement from the Obama administration makes clear to all Members of Congress what the White House views as a necessary federal legislative solution to the serious problem of anti-LGBT discrimination and harassment in our nation's public schools.