Who could possibly argue against a Federal government project “to develop a national strategy aimed at ensuring a safe, healthy learning environment for students?” Well, regular readers of this blog know who can: I can, I do, I will. Especially when this policy involves the assertion that the Federal government sets national norms of behavior regarding what is or is not “bullying.” Reality check and translation here: “a national strategy aimed at ensuring a safe, healthy learning environment” means that the Federal Government Departments of Education and Health & Social Services are going to start monitoring what your children (or probably you, if you’re an adult student) say to everyone else, how they say it, what they do by way of non-verbal communication, and then they (the Federal Departments of Education and Health & Social Services, will decide whether your children’s speech, behavior, and demeanor creates a “safe environment” from the standpoint of those who are most politically and socially persnickety, politically correct, sensitive, and snobbish—glass cats with a chip on their shoulder will RULE THE WORLD because every chip on the shoulder knocked off will be an act of bullying.
I am not sure how they want to define “bullying” but I know what it basically means: “somebody pretends he’s better and smarter, better looking, or stronger, than you are and tries to get you to accept and acknowledge his superiority.” I suppose all sports are really just matters of bullying, aren’t they? All contests, especially beauty contests, result in and from bullying? Even a spelling bee is really a kind of bullying, when you come right down to it…. “Bullying” like “Terrorism” means whatever you want it to mean…. kind of like “the unauthorized practice of law”—which basically covers every kind of political argument, every discussion of what the law could or should be, and of course every political argument inevitably also involves “bullying” to a greater or lesser degree…..
Humans are a strange and weak bunch of creatures. I for one hate to yell and hate raising my voice, but I hate it even more when people attack me and cause me to yell back. But I learned at an early age, from one of the quietest men I ever knew, specifically, my grandfather, that if you can’t yell back at people who yell at you, you will never know peace or quiet, because you will live in constant fear.
All this year I have been watching on Third-Street in Santa Monica and elsewhere in Los Angeles as bright red Izod shirted, smiling, clean cut boys and girls, 99% of them white and 100% under the age of 30, solicited signatures for the SPLC’s anti-bullying campaign. “Bullying” is such a vague concept. It was obnoxious, especially when I know what hopeless bullies the SPLC are everywhere, scorning everyone who doesn’t conform with their vision of political correctness, but when I asked them about freedom of speech and due process/void for vagueness prosecution they assured me, as if it were well-scripted, that they were only involved in advocating education and awareness of the emotional harm that bullying can do. Well, now, the Obama administration (totally predictably) has come out in favor of using the power of the Federal Government to suppress bullying. This means MORE Federal regulation of school behavior, MORE Federal scrutiny of private family life, and in general, LESS freedom to assuage the fears and trepidations of people, especially children. Now there will be bureaucracies to decide what “bullying” is and who is a “bully”. But of course the government must protect who either haven’t learned to ridicule in retaliation or yell back, can’t learn to ridicule in retaliation or yell back, or just people whom the government want to protects from ever having to do anything so arduous as to defend their own rights—from private individuals. And of course, what this level of protection does is, it lessens the individual’s autonomy and utterly prohibits the notion of individual responsibility for freedom or self-development. NONE OF US WHOM THE GOVERNMENT PROTECTS FROM BULLYING WILL EVER BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO RESIST GOVERNMENTAL BULLIES.
I cry once again for the demise of “the land of the free and the home of the brave”—if we cannot teach our children the good manners not to be bullies themselves and the strength to fight back when other children try to bully them, then we must consign ourselves to being the most miserable of slaves…. the most miserable of perpetually handicapped children.
When Bullying is outlawed—all the bullies will get GOVERNMENT JOBS—especially in the police who regulate and restrict and PUNISH “bullying”—I cry for my beloved country and its dismal disgrace:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Parents are urged to teach their kids to speak up if they witness school bullying in new ads that target an issue that top Obama administration officials vow to make a national priority.
A long-term campaign featuring television, print and web ads was unveiled Monday and will start running in October. The campaign is a joint effort by the Ad Council, a nonprofit that distributes public service announcements, and the Free to Be Foundation, a group that includes entertainersMarlo Thomas, Alan Alda and Mel Brooks.
In one television ad, two girls are seen bullying a schoolmate, mocking her appearance and telling her that nobody likes her. A fourth girl looks on but doesn’t intervene.
“Every day, kids witness bullying,” says a narrator. “They want to help, but don’t know how. Teach your kids how to be more than a bystander.”
Online and print ads will warn parents that their kids regularly encounter negative messages such as “you’re worthless” and “everybody hates you.”
The ads were unveiled Monday at an annual anti-bullying summit hosted by the Department of Education in Washington, where lawmakers, educators and government officials convened to develop a national strategy aimed at ensuring a safe, healthy learning environment for students. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed the summit Monday, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will deliver a keynote speech on Tuesday.
Once considered an unpleasant but inescapable part of adolescence, bullying has been thrust into the national conversation by a string of high-profile suicides by students who were later revealed to have been bullied.
Of particular concern to education advocates is bullying directed against students perceived to be gay or lesbian — such as Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old who killed himself in 2010 after allegedly being bullied online by his college roommate, who was convicted of invasion of privacy and other charges for using a webcam to film Clementi and another man kissing.
Sebelius told the summit that suicides by teenagers and children had served as a national wake-up call.
“Bullying is not just a harmless rite of passage, or an inevitable part of growing up,” Sebelius said. “It’s a systematic situation that threatens the health and well-being of our young people. It’s destructive to our communities and devastating to our future.”
Sebelius said school districts and states are aggressively working to quell school bullying, noting that 36 state anti-bullying laws were enacted in 2009 and 2010. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added bullying to its regular survey of risk behavior in schools.
She added that cyberbullying has become a top concern as students increasingly communicate through social media, text messages and the Internet.
“We are all responsible for our children’s safety,” Sebelius said. “And no one can afford to be a bystander.”