Today, April 20, is GLSEN‘s 17th annual Day of Silence and this afternoon, just before screening the documentary BULLY for bullying prevention advocates, the White House announced it’s support for the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act. In a statement White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said:
The President and his Administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying. He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator Franken and Congressman Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator Casey and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.
GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard and GLSEN National Board member Sirdeaner Walker responded immediately:
“Today’s announcement is a vital show of support to students everywhere of all identities, backgrounds and beliefs who face bullying and harassment in school,” said Byard. “By speaking out on GLSEN’s Day of Silence in support of these two critical bills, the President has given greater hope to students who often feel that they have nowhere to turn. It is deeply moving to know that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who face the multiple threats of harassment, violence and discrimination have the President as an ally in their efforts to win all of the protections that they deserve.”
“Today is a day that I have hoped for since I began my work as an anti-bullying advocate after losing my son Carl,” said Walker. “I believe that President Obama’s explicit endorsement of the Safe Schools Improvement Act will make a tremendous difference in moving this issue forward. Having met with the President three times, I knew his support for SSIA and the Student Non-Discrimination Act was genuine. But stating that publicly on GLSEN’s Day of Silence pushes it to a whole new level. While nothing can bring Carl back, I know that these bills can make a real difference to end the bullying and harassment that is faced by too many other sons and daughters today.”