Monday, October 11, 2010

The Problem of Bullying Revisited

Recently Fox News printed an article about anti-gay bullying and national public school efforts to confront this increasing phenomenon. “Gay rights supports insist that any effective anti-bullying program must include specific componants addressing harassment of gay youth,” the article says.

This concerns me on three fronts.

First, anyone who dares to voice their personal opinion against homosexuality could be so easily labeled as a bully. Today I learned that the law considers bullying a felony. Drawn to its logical conclusion, a Christian or anyone who disagrees with the homosexual agenda could be hauled into court and shackled for life with a felonious charge. Just for believing that homosexuality is a sin or destructive behavior could keep an otherwise outstanding young person from getting federal loans, getting a job or buying a car. This would be a direct violation of our freedom of speech and freedom of religion rights as stated in the Bill of Rights. Even now, high school and college students have to keep their mouths tightly closed about their opinions or find something however obscure that they can agree upon about the homosexual agenda so they won’t be labeled as intolerant.

Also, bullying works both ways. What about gays or those who support the homosexual agenda who bully those who hold other opinions? Will teachers turn their heads when young people attack those who are “straight?” You think I’m being extreme? Even thirty years ago, this was occurring on a different issue. A substitute teacher once decided to lay aside the teacher’s lesson plans and involved his class in a values clarification exercise. He drew a line on the floor and asked students to stand on the line based on their opinion about abortion. Most students chose the middle and a few leaned toward the pro-abortion side. No comment was made by teacher or student. When the teacher called on me, I strode to the far right side, for I believed then as I do now that abortion is wrong in any circumstances unless in the case of an obvious tubal pregnancy. Don’t get sidetracked – that is just my opinion. The class, joined by the teacher, erupted in jeers. That should have never happened - no matter what I believed. Will school administrations be willing to protect students from this kind of harassment over the homosexual issue?

Finally, I fear the anti-gay bullying movement will focus more on the issue and less on the behavior. I readily agree that bullying is a growing problem in our schools. As stated above, bullying in any form is wrong, wrong, wrong. Our kids don’t know and are not being taught at home how to be nice and respectful of each other. If kids truly are being unkind and jeering over a student’s sexual orientation, I agree. The school administration should have a no-tolerance stance. Other kids should stand up for the victim, letting their peers know that such disrespect of any human’s appearance, beliefs, or lifestyle choices is unacceptable. If school administrator’s focused on the behavior of bullying in general instead of on the cause, articles targeting specific groups would not even need to be written.

Let’s not lose sight of the main focus. Disrespect is the core issue, not values and opinions.

How parents and teachers can find positive solutions to the problem of bullying will be the focus of my next blog.

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