Friday, June 8, 2012

IPN Student Testifies at Harkin Hearing on Bullying


Des Moines, Iowa– June 8 – Iowa Pride Network Leadership Team member Liz Sederquist testified today at Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) field hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which he chairs, at Des Moines East High School. The hearing explored the growing national concern over bullying in schools.

Sederquist is currently a student at Des Moines Area Community College, after dropping out of Gilbert High School due to pervasive bullying and harassment.

In her testimony, Sederquist shared that after being “outed” as a lesbian at school; students vandalized her car and would often verbally harass her. Staff rarely intervened.

“I developed anxiety, stomach issues, and depression. I just didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t want to go and have faculty not pay attention to me, and no one handling the bullying problem.”

Sederquist made clear that there are steps schools can take to make life better for students; pointing to on-going trainings for teachers, ensuring schools follow Iowa’s Safe Schools Law and encouraging the formation of student clubs called gay-straight alliances.

“Students shouldn’t have to worry about being judged on how they present their gender or sexual orientation,” said Sederquist, adding that, “I hope through this testimony that schools will realize that not providing a safe and supportive environment does affect students and their ability to learn.”


About Iowa Pride Network
Iowa Pride Network empowers students to fight bullying, homophobia, transphobia and hate in high schools and colleges by supporting gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs and providing leadership opportunities and organizing projects centered on social justice.