Friday, May 20, 2011

Arizona teen lobbies Congress for support of Student Non-Discrimination Act

An Arizona teen who started his anti-bullying activism when he was forced to drop out of high school at the age of 16, has taken his cause to Washington to lobby Congress to make schools a safer environment for LGBT youth.

Caleb Laieski, 16, of Surprise, Ariz., is in the nation’s capital this month, hoping to convince legislators to support and pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

For Caleb, seeing this bill passed is personal.

Caleb said he was repeatedly threatened with violence and death threats because he is gay — threats that were ignored by teachers and school administrators.

And he lost a close friend who committed suicide after being gay bashed.

Caleb, who has now received his G.E.D., brought the fight to his school district last year, starting with a legal notification that he would bring a lawsuit to protect himself and others who were harassed by billies.

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