County Boards and Public and Nonpublic Prekindergarten Programs and Schools - Discrimination - Prohibition
Bill Sponsor: Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins
Committee: Ways and Means
Organization Submitting: Lower Shore Progressive Caucus
Person Submitting: Dr. Nicole Hollywood, LSPC
I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB155 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore.
The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus recognizes that there are insufficient protections for, and inequities in the treatment of, LGBTQIA+ learners enrolled in Maryland schools. The result of these injustices contributes to a climate that is unsupportive, and even often hostile, to LGBTQIA+ youth. Research conducted on LGBTQIA+ youth in schools has found that an unsupportive educational climate contributes to lower academic performance, lower GPA, increased absences, increased likelihood of school dropout, and less likelihood of attending an institution of higher education.
HB155 would codify anti-discrimination protections for all students, pre-k through 12 who are enrolled in our public schools and in any other schools receiving public funding. It also prohibits retaliation against a student or guardian who files a discrimination complaint, establishes a remedy process to resolve discriminatory action, and requires schools and school Boards to develop written policies for students and employees regarding civil rights protections. Ultimately, this legislation seeks to codify existing MSDE guidance and prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
HB155 is a major step forward to ensuring the civil rights of LGBTQIA+ youth enrolled in Maryland’s schools.
The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.