The Massachusetts Congressional Delegation taped an “It Gets Better” message to LGBTQ teens. The message includes Senator John Kerry and Congressmembers Ed Markey, John Tierney, Jim McGovern, Bill Keating, Richard Neal, Niki Tsongas, John Olver, Mike Capuano, Stephen Lynch and Barney Frank appear in the one minute spot that directs viewers to log onto Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Youth (BAGLY)’s website.
This would be the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation.
Oh wait, there’s one conspicuous absence.
It’s the whole Massachusetts Congressional delegation, except for one. Conspicuously absent is Senator Scott Brown. A Brown office spokesperson tells The Hill:
“Scott Brown has a strong record at the state and federal level against bullying and believes that all people regardless of sexual orientation should be treated with dignity and respect,” said Brown spokesman Colin Reed. “His main focus right now is on creating jobs and getting our economy back on track.”
I’m not sure what the spokesperson is referring to in Brown’s “strong record” of Federal support. A visit over to Open Congress shows Senator Brown is not a sponsor any of the bills that currently address school bullying issues: Not the Safe Schools Improvement Act, not the Student Non-Discrimination Act, not the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act. His spokesperson has “indicated” Brown would vote for SSIA if it were to be brought to a vote.
It appears Senator Scott Brown is no more inclined to use his office to address the issue of bullying than he is his free time.
Chris Geidner writing about the Safe Schools Improvement Act in March 2010, in Metro Weekly included this anecdote of Dominque Walker, a constituent reaching out to Scott Brown’s office during a lobby day:
Walker, a junior and the co-president of her Massachusetts high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, said she was ”empowered” by the day, recalling the 2009 suicide of her brother, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover.
”Students called him ‘gay,’ ‘faggot,’ anti-gay slurs. And, he really didn’t perceive himself to be either one, straight or gay,” she said. ”He thought the only way to get away from his torment was by killing himself, and that’s what happened.”
Referring to her lobbying the staff of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Ma.), she noted the liberal bent of her state and his Republican status, but then said, ”It actually went better than I thought it would.
”His staffer was really – he didn’t really know much about my brother – but he knew about Phoebe Prince,” another student who had committed suicide because of anti-LGBT bullying at school. ”After I explained my story, he said Scott Brown would look into it.”
Her mother, Sirdeaner Walker, has testified before Congress and the Massuchusetts legislature on safe-schools issues, a fact clearly taken to heart by Walker, who said, ”I want to work alongside my mom; I really want to see the Safe Schools Improvement Act passed.”
Sirdeaner Walker’s Congressional testimony:
What a remarkably brave and strong woman. Such a terrible burden she has to bear. My best wishes to Ms. Walker that she find comfort.
And, I guess, 16 months after her daughter visited Scott Brown’s office they are still “looking into it.” Maybe if he’d shown up for the video shoot he’d have found the opportunity to be better educated on this issue.