Students and Survivors Support the SAFER Act’s Civil Rights Protections
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1st, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today marks the introduction of the Students Access to Freedom and Educational Rights (SAFER) Act, introduced by Senator Bob Casey and Senator Maizie Hirono in the Senate, and Representative Jahana Hayes, Representative Debbie Dingell, and Representative Debora Ross in the House. This comprehensive civil rights bill would codify key protections for young people who are experiencing gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.
Know Your IX – Advocates for Youth’s survivor and youth-led project empowering students to end gender- based violence in schools – has championed this groundbreaking legislation alongside the National Women’s Law Center, with nearly 80 other civil rights and survivor advocacy organizations endorsing the bill.
Student survivors are in dire need of the SAFER Act, which requires that supportive measures and remedies are provided to students experiencing sex-based discrimination, that Title IX coordinators are provided with robust training, and that schools are held accountable for failures to address violence.
“At Know Your IX, we continue to see discrimination, retaliation, failures and delays in schools’ responses to harassment, and harmful stereotypes interfere with student survivors’ access to their civil rights and a safe educational environment. The status quo is not working for students — especially BIPOC survivors, LGBTQI+ survivors, and survivors with disabilities,” said Emma Grasso Levine, Title IX Policy and Program Manager at Advocates for Youth. “The SAFER Act provides crucial protections for survivors and strengthens students’ right to an education free from discrimination and violence.”
Know Your IX Policy Organizer and student Zoey Brewer spoke to the need for federal legislation to intervene in educational discrimination: “While student survivors suffer the effects of discrimination, inequity, and retaliation after experiencing violence, schools are failing to act in the best interest of students. Schools’ delays in responding to violence result in student survivors being pushed out of school, forced to take a leave of absence, transfer, or withdraw entirely. Students’ livelihood and education are on the line, and intervention is desperately needed. Survivors deserve an education free from violence, and the SAFER Act enshrines the very protections and support necessary for students to thrive in their schools.”
Know Your IX urges members of Congress to support the SAFER Act, ensuring a more equitable future for all students’ and their access to a safe learning environment.