Today, the Safe Schools Bill was heard on the LA House floor.
To begin with, the opposition stripped the enumerated list from the bill. The Edwards amendment vote total was 67-28.
We strongly opposed the attempt to remove the enumerated list from the bill. Not only was the list not exclusive–before the list are the words ‘such as” — having it protects all students.
Without the non-exclusive list, students wouldn’t feel safe to report bullying for fear that the teacher/principal would blow it off, or worse, join in. Without a list, teacher/principals are able to make their own subjective determinations of whether a characteristic should be protected from bullying. Further, without a list, there is no consistency around the state. The list simply creates minimum standards that must be enforced.
67 Representatives voted to gut the bill and to send a message to Louisiana’s students that bullying people for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is acceptable policy for politicians and, therefore, must be acceptable for them as well.
On the amended bill, 43 Representatives voted for passage of the measure. Some of our allies voted against the final version because we had recommended against passage of a non-enumerated bill.
Here is the roll call of the final vote: http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=748847
Representative Austin Badon showed true leadership on the House floor today. We thank him for sponsoring the measure and for his important words on fairness and dignity: “It’s a sad day in Louisiana. We have the authority and the power to address this issue. It’s a sad day when we won’t stand up and help the parents. For us to sit here and say that the conservative, religious right is going to dictate to us how we’re going to vote, I’m embarrassed by that. You should be ashamed of that.”
Here is some of the coverage:
Prior to the vote, action alerts went out from:
LA Family Forum: http://www.lafamilyforum.org/hb112
Southern Baptists: http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/6394/53
As you can see, our enemies are quick to use lies and hate to justify bullying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender kids (or those perceived to be such).
Bullying will not stop and neither will the Forum For Equality.