Minnesota Senator Al Franken has
renewed calls for passage of a federal anti-gay bullying bill after
the death of Lance Lundsten over the weekend.
Lundsten was an 18-year-old openly gay
student at Jefferson High School in Alexandria. He died on Saturday
night after being transported to the Douglas County Hospital by
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office
told local ABC affiliate KSAX that Lundsten took his own life.
Lundsten's father, however, denies his son committed suicide.
On Facebook, several students say the
teen was bullied at school, which they fear could have led to his
“My heart goes out to Lance's family,
and friends and loved ones,” Franken said. “It's a tragic event,
not only for them, but for the school, and the Alexandria community
and really for us all.”
“LGBT kids really do need [more]
protection. They're two or three times more likely than straight
kids to get bullied. Nine in ten LGBT students said they've been
bullied or harassed and almost two-thirds say they don't feel safe in
Franken renewed calls for Congress to
pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SDNA), a bill which would
outlaw discrimination against students on the basis of sexual
orientation and gender identity (transgender protections).
Lundsten's funeral is set for Tuesday