[ 0 ] March 24, 2011 |

41 people from 29 states share personal stories in GLSEN-led advocacy summit

Washington, DC, March 24, 2011 — Dozens of parents and students concerned about school safety for LGBT students will be meeting with their congressional representatives on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 as part of GLSEN’s Safe Schools Advocacy Summit. The three-day summit led by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network will highlight national support for the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

This is GLSEN’s third annual Safe Schools Advocacy Summit. Participants from Alabama to Wyoming will share moving personal stories that highlight the need for federal leadership to address school harassment and create schools that are welcoming for all students. Participants include:

  • Deanie Brown and her transgender son Travis Powell, a family that has been split apart so Travis can finish high school in a safe school instead of the unwelcoming school nearby his mother’s home.  “I was called names, pushed, shoved in the halls, and finally caught after school and physically assaulted. I was homeschooled for two years then returned to a school that was more accepting, and I will graduate this year,” said Powell.
  • Andrea Glenn, a teacher from Arizona. “I have experienced harassment being one of the only biracial students at my Elementary and High School. I was teased by my peers and even teachers about my culture. I am currently a high school teacher and am working with GLSEN to start our first Peer Allies program to create a safer school climate,” said Glenn.
  • Dominique Walker, whose younger brother Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover died by suicide after being bullied with anti-gay slurs in Springfield, MA.
  • Tammy Aaberg, whose son Justin Aaberg committed suicide after facing relentless anti-gay slurs in the Anoka-Hennepin School District North of Minneapolis, MN.
  • Country music singer Chely Wright.

The Safe Schools Improvement Act was introduced with bipartisan support on March 8, 2011 by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL). It would require schools to implement comprehensive anti-bullying policies that include enumerated characteristics of students most often targeted, such as race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. A House version will be introduced shortly by Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA).

The Student Non-Discrimination Act was introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) in the House and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) in the Senate on March 10, 2011. The Student Non-Discrimination Act would make discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity against the law. It seeks to prevent the exclusion of students from full participation in school sanctioned events, and includes an exemption for religious schools.

About GLSEN GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN’s research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit

Category: National News

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