Frustrations boil over in hearing on Nebraska bill involving discrimination, school funding

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – While rain fell around the Capitol on Tuesday, many bodies swarmed inside.

Two bills regarding discrimination in schools were heard by the Education Committee.

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LB 487 would stop any school that receives public dollars from discriminating against students.

Students would be treated equally under this bill, no matter their race, gender, religion or national origin, to name a few.

Those who argued against the bill said enough protections are in place as it is without worrying about who we offend as we categorize more people into separated groups.

“We are creating group IDs and special classes, and it is doing away with the individuals that we call Americans,” Steve Davies said.

But those in favor, including OutNebraska, said positive impacts can come from such a bill.

“We think that makes a big difference for mental health with LGBTQ youth,” said Abbi Swatsworth, executive director of OutNebraska. “When youth are supported, when they have a supportive adult in their lives, their risk of suicide drops tremendously.”

State Sen. Megan Hunt introduced the bill in hopes of removing a school’s ability, public or private, to turn down a student when taking public dollars.

But there even debate about the definition of “public dollars.”

At one point, a testifier against the bill approached Hunt and her staffer, speaking to them out of turn.

“As that one testifier harassed my staff member, Sen. Murman, you were smiling at what he was saying,” Hunt said. It’s just a gross experience in here with you guys, and I feel very disrespected by most of you.”

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