Franken Seeks Legislation To End Anti-GLBT Bullying

WASHINGTON (WCCO) — Sen. Al Franken announced his intention to seek legislation that would curb anti-gay bullying in schools.

Franken (D-MN) announced the plan at a press conference in Washington Thursday while joined by Tammy Aaberg, whose 15-year-old son Justin Aaberg, a student in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, hanged himself in his room in July.

His friends told Tammy Aaberg he had been a frequent victim of anti-gay bullying.

Franken said his plan, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, would be part of the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act set to go before Congress next year. He cited Justin Aaberg’s suicide as one in a disturbing trend.

“No student should have to dread going to school because they fear being bullied,” said Sen. Franken. “It’s clear that we need to do more to ensure schools are a safe environment for all students. Ending this bullying and harassment in schools will be a priority for education reform in the next Congress.”

The bill would establish a federal prohibition against discrimination in public schools based on sexual orientation, real or perceived, as well as gender identity.

Franken was joined by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and others at the press conference to speak about repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibits openly gay soldiers to serve U.S. Military.

Later, Franken admitted his proposal does not have the support of any Republican.  He believes that could change in the future.

“I’ve had some who, through their staff, said that if another Republican signs on, we’d be happy to sign on,” Franken later said in an interview with WCCO radio.

Franken was asked whether this issue is already addressed by existing federal anti-discrimination laws.

“No, it isn’t,” he said.  “You’d think it would be.”

Al Franken Interview on the Student Non-Discrimination Act

  • Fed Up With All

    Al Al Al Al – you don’t need yet another stinking law that will rarely get enforced, will be used only in select instances, is so open to interpretation it’s a mess before it gets started………… if you really wanted to be serious you have already the so-called hate laws….. this dear ol State of MN is going so backwards I think it is hopeless. To each of you CLUELESS MORONS in office. Work on the Economy. The Deficit. Health Care Reform. Tax Policies. You are all Babbling Idiots ! Libs and Conserv’s …. total babbling blundering morons!

  • Carl

    The 14th Amendment “equal protection clause” requires Senator Franken to introduce an anti-bully law that protects all students from bullying.

    Teen suicide effects all walks of life, not just gay students. Public Schools should be focused on Math and Science, and they are not being paid to be political police for exclusive liberal causes.

  • Jake

    Agreed. People are bullied for an enormous variety of reasons, including height, weight, family economic status, social giftedness, etc. Apparently the short people lobby isn’t nearly effective enough for Senator Franken’s attention. The short, fat, poor, and uncool kids will just have suffer in silence and serve as the new targets for the gay-bashing bullies who will certainly change their hateful tune toward gay kids to focus on the remaining unprotected “different” kids.

    Or . . . we could represent everybody (as opposed to exclusively our political friends) and proscribe any extreme behavior against any student for any reason (to the extent such behavior isn’t already prohibited by every student conduct code at every school in the country).

    Is what happened to Tammy Aaberg’s son horrible and unacceptable? Absolutely. Is it worse than other types of bullying for any other reason? It’d be pretty hard to convince the parents and friends of students bullied to death (or kileld by students who had been bullied) for reasons other than perceived sexual orientation that their tragedy is more acceptable and less warranting of attention.

  • Lee

    I don’t understand why cruelty and bullying based on sexuallity should be singled out. Is a student who is suffering violence or threats not based on homosexuality less of a victim or less in need of protection? The very nature of a bill like this is exclusionary and basically bigoted in itself. We’re basically telling gay people that they are inferior and need special protection not afforded to other people in society.

  • EMH

    Why can’t they just ban bullying all together? What about the nerdy kids who aren’t part of any special group who just get bullied because they happen to be nerds? Just have a zero tolerance policy on bullying and actually enforce it. Stop making excuses for bullies like “boys will be boys.” That would help a lot. As someone who was once bullied for being a nerdy kid, this is my position.

  • Jadd

    Doesn’t the Madonna movie “Truth or Dare” show gay dancers bullying around a newer dancer?

    It’s not like gay people are perfect angels either.

  • Kevin

    Does this Moron understand that this country is falling apart at seams? Gay bullying? Really? That is all this Moron can come up with? I mean I have a list of 100 critical issues facing this country…..and I think I missed “Gay Bullying”…….God help us…..everyone…..

  • Pwal Wwellstone

    Al’s been getting BJ’s from Bwaney Fwank’s people.

  • j. levas

    what if it were your kid????

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