I was alerted to a bill in Minnesota that had passed the House and is being tabled in the Senate. The bill is called the "Anti-bullying Law" or HF826 and is an ambiguous bill, both clearly defining bullying or hateful language and leaving it open to interpretation at the same time.
Comment such as "OMG, that outfit is so ugly!" . . or, one student to another saying "You suck" out on the field or disagreeing with one's sexual orientation or the way someone dresses if they are transgender, will get you a seat in the principal's or counselor's office. Not only will you be counseled to not ever say anything like that to anyone again, but the event will likely be put in the state's data system with your name attached to it, possibly hurting your future chances of getting into that college you want.
But let's cut to the chase. This bill has one intention that is obvious with the language included in it, leaving out the typical forms of bullying. The bill is coming in on the coat tails of the new gay-marriage law that has been recently passed in several states. They are really not fooling anyone. The timing, the language and authors of the bill, all point to one agenda: the agenda to indoctrinate our children and silence any opposition to the gay movement.
This bill is wrong on so many levels. First of all, the bill states at the end, that it does not limit the freedom of speech. It clearly does. If you make anyone feel uncomfortable because of what you are saying, it is considered bullying and your speech will be limited. Read this and tell me freedom of speech is accounted for:
3.34(b) "Bullying" means use of one or a series of words, images, or actions, transmitted
3.35directly or indirectly between individuals or through technology, that a reasonable person
3.36knows or should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of interfering with
4.1the ability of an individual, including a student who observes the conduct, to participate
4.2in a safe and supportive learning environment. Examples of bullying may include, but
4.3are not limited to, conduct that:
4.4(1) places an individual in reasonable fear of harm to person or property, including
4.6(2) has a detrimental effect on the physical, social, or emotional health of a student;
4.7(3) interferes with a student's educational performance or ability to participate in
4.9(4) encourages the deliberate exclusion of a student from a school service, activity,
4.11(5) creates or exacerbates a real or perceived imbalance of power between students;
4.12(6) violates the reasonable expectation of privacy of one or more individuals; or
4.13(7) relates to the actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, national
4.14origin, immigration status, sex, age, marital status, familial status, socioeconomic status,
4.15physical appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, academic status,
4.16disability, or status with regard to public assistance, age, or any additional characteristic
4.17defined in chapter 363A of a person or of a person with whom that person associates, but
4.18the conduct does not rise to the level of harassment.
Secondly, school districts already have anti-bullying policies in place and states already have laws against it. Call your senator and tell him or her that this law has no place in our public schools. NCLB was a failure because of the degree of government involvement and unachievable goals. How is this any different.