Peters Backs Bill to Protect LGBT Students from Bullying

Legislation Would Establish Comprehensive Federal Ban Against Discrimination in Public Schools


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced he is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to protect public school students who are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) from bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

Federal civil rights laws explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin – but not sexual orientation or gender identity, which gives LGBT students and parents limited legal recourse to address this kind of bullying and discrimination. LGBT youth are much more likely to experience bullying and harassment at school compared to their non-LGBT peers.

“LGBT discrimination in our public schools isn’t just devastating for students, it harms our entire education system,” said Senator Peters. “Bullying impacts as many as seven in 10 LGBT youth, and the consequences range from absenteeism and academic underachievement to increased dropout rates and suicide. I support these new protections because no student – in Michigan or any state across the country – should have to fear being bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The Student Non-Discrimination Act would:

  • Establish a comprehensive federal prohibition of discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Provide protections for LGBT students and ensure that all students have access to public education in a safe environment free from discrimination, including harassment, bullying, intimidation and violence; and
  • Provide meaningful and effective remedies (loss of federal funding and legal cause of action for victims) for discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, modeled after Title IX.