MEDIA RELEASE – April 24, 2012
Jefferson City, MO - Today the Missouri Progressive Caucus and other Democratic State Representatives sent a formal letter to Speaker Tilley, Floor Leader Tim Jones, Rep. Steve Cookson and Rep. John Diehl (along with 16 other co-sponsors) -asking them to withdraw their support of House Bill 2051.
“Public outrage has shown us that we are not doing enough to protect all students in schools. Students, teachers, administrators and those involved in the care of students all support being able to address sexual orientation and gender identity openly and compassionately,” said State Rep. Stacey Newman (D-Richmond Heights), chair of the House Progressive Caucus.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students in Missouri commonly hear homophobic, sexist and negative remarks about themselves in schools. These remarks come from both other students and staff members. In fact most of these students have been victimized and bullied in school. The majority of these incidents are not reported to adult authorities.
63% of students who were harassed or assaulted in school never reported it to school staff and 48% never told a family member about the incident. Among students who did report incidents to school authorities, only 12% said that reporting resulted in effective intervention by staff.
Newman continued, “I applaud and join with 37 of my colleagues in the House in standing up for all students. We urge the bill sponsors to withdraw HB2051 which would have very serious ramifications if passed.”
Bullying or harassment of any student has no place in Missouri schools. Turning our back on Missouri students to advance a political agenda is mean-spirited. HB2051 is simply wrong.
Note: Signatories include: Representatives Ira Anders, Bert Atkins, Gail Beatty, Susan Carlson, Chris Carter, Mike Colona, Rochelle Walton Gray, Rory Ellinger, Brandon Ellington, Leonard Hughes, Tishaura Jones, Jason Kander, Chris Kelly, Jeanne Kirkton, Sara Lampe, Tracy McCreery, Tom McDonald, Eileen McGeoghegan, Margo McNeil, Genise Montecillo, Jeanette Mott Oxford, Judy Morgan, Mary Nichols, Stacey Newman, Sharon Pace, Tommie Pierson, John Rizzo, Jill Schupp, Scott Sifton, Churie Spreng, Mary Still, Jay Swearingen, Mike Talboy, Sylvester Taylor, Steve Webb and Stephen Webber.