Thursday, April 9, 2009

Congress to vote on "Day of Silence"

A resolution has been drafted in Congress in support of the goals and ideals of the National Day of Silence, a day set aside to support lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender students and to put an end to any disapproval of this lifestyle choice in our schools. House Concurrent Resolution 92 requests that the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the National Day of Silence with appropriate ceremonies, programs and activities, and it encourages each State, city and local education authority to adopt laws and policies to prohibit name-calling, bullying, harassment and discrimination against students, teachers, and other school staff regardless of their sexual orientation, regardless of their gender identity and regardless of how they express their gender.

Here is the text of H.Con.Res.92:
111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. CON. RES. 92
Supporting the goals and ideals of the National Day of Silence in bringing attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender name-calling, bullying, and harassment faced by individuals in schools.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 1, 2009
Mr. ENGEL (for himself, Ms. BALDWIN, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mr. BERMAN, Ms. BERKLEY, Mrs. CAPPS, Mr. FARR, Mr. FILNER, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr. HOLT, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mrs. LOWEY, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. NADLER of New York, Ms. NORTON, Mr. PALLONE, Mr. POLIS of Colorado, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. HARE, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, Ms. LEE of California, Mr. HONDA, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. SERRANO, Mrs. DAVIS of California, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Mr. ANDREWS, Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California, Mr. ELLISON, Mrs. MALONEY, Ms. CLARKE, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, and Mr. FATTAH) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
Supporting the goals and ideals of the National Day of Silence in bringing attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender name-calling, bullying, and harassment faced by individuals in schools.
Whereas the National Day of Silence is a day in which students take a vow of silence to bring attention to the anti- lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender name-calling, bullying, and harassment faced by individuals in schools;
Whereas the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network designates one day of every April as the National Day of Silence;
Whereas a record number of more than 18,000 students from more than 6,500 middle and high schools registered as participants in the 2008 National Day of Silence;
Whereas the 2008 National Day of Silence was held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old California student who was shot and killed in school in February 2008 by a classmate due to his sexual orientation and gender identity and expression;
Whereas the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's 2007 National School Climate Survey illustrates the pervasive harassment and victimization faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students by documenting their experiences within the preceding academic year;
Whereas more than 85 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students reported being verbally harassed by their peers at school because of their sexual orientation, and more than 66 percent because of their gender expression;
Whereas more than 40 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students reported being physically harassed by their peers at school because of their sexual orientation, and more than 30 percent because of their gender expression;
Whereas more than 20 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students reported being physically assaulted by their peers at school because of their sexual orientation, and nearly 15 percent because of their gender expression;
Whereas nearly 40 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students report that faculty and staff never intervene when homophobic remarks were made in their presence, and over 40 percent when remarks about gender expression were made;
Whereas more than 30 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students reported missing at least one entire school day in the preceding month because they felt unsafe;
Whereas lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students who experienced high levels of verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender expression are more likely to report that they did not plan to attend college than lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students who experienced low levels of such harassment;
Whereas student academic performance is affected such that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students who experienced high levels of verbal harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender expression report a grade point average nearly a half grade lover than those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students who experienced low levels of such harassment;
Whereas a growing number of States, cities, and local education authorities are adopting laws and policies to prohibit name-calling, bullying, harassment, and discrimination against students on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; and
Whereas every child should be guaranteed an education free from name-calling, bullying, harassment, and discrimination regardless of his or her sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--
(1) supports the goals and ideals of the National Day of Silence;
(2) requests that the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe the National Day of Silence with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities; and
(3) encourages each State, city, and local education authority to adopt laws and policies to prohibit name-calling, bullying, harassment, and discrimination against students, teachers, and other school staff regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, so that the Nation's schools are institutions where all individuals are able to focus on learning.

To express your views to your congressman on House Concurrent Resolution, call (202) 225-3121. Direct dial numbers to the Washington DC offices of the Wisconsin delegation are:

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (202) 225-2906
Rep. Steve Kagen (202) 225-5665
Rep. Ron Kind (202) 225-5506
Rep. Gwen Moore (202) 225-4572
Rep. David Obey (202) 225-3365
Rep. Thomas Petri (202) 225-2476
Rep. Paul Ryan (202) 225-3031
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (202) 225-5101