Northern California School officials required a female student to participate in school-sponsored "counseling" designed to discourage students from being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Officials also denied the student access to the girls' locker room.

"All I ever wanted was to be able to go to school and just be myself. But I couldn't do that when the people I was supposed to be learning from were judging me and telling me something was wrong with me," the girl said. "How was I supposed to learn when I was constantly scared?"

In a public school in Memphis, Tennessee, two male students had their private relationship revealed to the school principal by another student. In response, the principal wrote their names on a list she posted next to her desk, in full view. The principal then called one of their mothers.

"Did you know your son is gay?" the mother said the principal told her. The principal added that she didn't like gay people and wouldn't tolerate homosexuality at her school. Both students reported that they had to endure verbal harassment from teachers and students as a result of the principal's actions.

Orange County, California public high school officials punished a female student, revealed her sexual orientation to her family and forced her to transfer to another school in the middle of the semester. The student, who previously had straight-A grades and a spotless disciplinary record, was punished for occasionally showing affection towards her girlfriend, even though heterosexual students regularly held hands, hugged and kissed on campus.

These examples are not rare instance of discriminatory treatment. Instead, they shed light on the daily challenges faced by many LGBT students.

In a comprehensive 2007 study of 6,209 middle and high school students entitled the National School Climate Survey, nine out of ten LGBT students reported that they had experienced harassment at their school in the past year. Additionally, three-fifths felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and about a third reported that they had skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe. Such a toxic environment denies LGBT students their right to an equal education and contributes to unacceptably high rates of absenteeism, dropouts, adverse health (including mental health) consequences, and academic underachievement.

The Student Non-Discrimination Act will help to ensure that discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students has no place in our country's public schools. The legislation builds on existing protections for students based on their race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin, and will provide LGBT students and their families with legal recourse against discriminatory treatment.

On behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a non-partisan organization with more than a half million members and fifty-three affiliates nationwide, we urge you to co-sponsor S. 3390, the Student Non-Discrimination Act. This important legislation, which was recently introduced by Senator Franken, would establish a comprehensive federal prohibition against discrimination in public schools based on a student's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and provides victims with meaningful and effective remedies modeled after Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.

The ACLU's own work advocating for equal protection for LGBT students is replete with examples of those who have suffered discriminatory treatment at the very hands of those tasked with providing them with an education and ensuring their safety within schools.