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64 Congressional Democrats Ask Dept. of Education to Protect LGBT Students

64 Congressional Democrats Ask Dept. of Education to Protect LGBT Students

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Members of Congress want the U.S. Department of Education's Secretary Arne Duncan to help stop LGBT bullying and discrimination in schools.

In a letter dated and published today, 64 Democratic members of Congress signed a plea to Secretary Arne Duncan of the U.S. Department of Education to provide protections for LGBT students all over the country from bullying and discrimination in their schools.

"Each of us counts among our constituents students who have suffered from pervasive discrimination and bullying because their teachers, administrators, or peers knew or perceive them to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender," the letter reads. "While fully addressing this problem will require legislation from Congress, we ask that the Department of Education use every avenue at its disposal to protect LGBT students from discriminatory school practices."

The letter was dated the same day an LGBT-focused amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act failed to recieve the 60 votes necessary to overcome standard partisan gridlock in the U.S. House. Many of the supporters of that failed amendment are co-signers on the letter to Sec. Duncan.

The letter, signed by 64 members of the House -- all Democrats. The effort was led by out Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley, and California Reps. Mike Honda (who recently revealed he is the "proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild") and Linda Sanchez.

The plea comes on the heels of several prominent tragedies and controversies in recent years surrounding how LGBT youth are treated in their daily lives -- especially on school grounds. Just recently, the prinicipal of San Diego's elite e3 Civic High School came under fire for her perceived hostility toward LGBT students that resulted in accusations of bullying. The parents of severalteens around the country who have taken their own lives this year have complained of inaction when their child reportedly informed school officials about anti-LGBT harassment.

"Students who identify as LGBT are much more likely to be bullied at school than their peers," the letter to Secretary Duncan reads. (It is worth noting that Duncan has been a known supporter of same-sex marriage equality since 2012.)

"The impact of this discrimination is not just limited to the school day; students who experience bullying and harassment are more likely to suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and other mental health problems. Further, they are less likely to attain a high HPA or move onto post-secondary education, which can disadvantage them throughout their lives."

Read the full letter below.

Letter to Sec. Duncan Re Lgbt Discrimination Final Signed

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