Thursday, January 01, 2009

Revisiting Lampe's Proposed Anti-Bullying Bill

and the News-Leader Editorial Board's Characterization of People's Reasons for Either Supporting or not Supporting Lampe's Bill

In "Lampe's Proposed Anti-Bullying Bill," posted yesterday afternoon, I made the statement it: "is just wrong."

Whether it is something you support or not should be your decision, and you can read the bill for yourself at this link.

The reasons I gave for believing it was "just wrong," in yesterday's posting were based on the News-Leader editorial board's characterization of the bill.

As I wrote yesterday afternoon, the "Our Voice" column implies that if it were blond haired, blue eyed children who were being bullied and whose school work suffered as a result:"Parents would be outraged. Lawmakers would demand change. School officials would take action."
I also pointed out, the newspaper's editorial board continued, to indicate:

"State Rep. Sara Lampe hopes for that kind of reaction -- as do we -- when she files a bill outlawing bullying of various categories of students, including those who are gay."

What the bill actually does, is state, under item 3, that:

"Each district's antibullying policy shall be founded on the assumption that all students need a safe learning environment. [Policies shall treat students equally and shall not contain specific lists of protected classes of students who are to receive special treatment.] Bullying that is reasonably perceived as being motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation as defined in section 557.035, RSMo, intellectual ability, physical appearance, or a mental, physical or sensory disability or disorder; or on the basis of association with others identified by these categories; is prohibited."

Jim, of busplunge, understood the spirit in which I made the statements I made regarding "categories." He pointed out in the previous entry's comment section that:

"...everybody's got race

religion----everybody's got one or don't got one

disability--mental or physical

ancestry---our forefather and mothers

color--we are all colored one color or another

sexual orientation...we are all orientated, one way or another.

I think that just about covers everybody.

Everybody should have the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

What Jim's statement did is cause me to look at the bill Lampe has proposed for myself, rather than to rely on the News-Leader editorial board's characterization of the bill, which is something I should have done in the first place.

My sentiments do not change, the direction of my disdain or disapproval changes a bit. Rather than stating Lampe's proposed anti-bullying bill is just wrong I should have done my homework and the proper headline might have read something more to the effect that the News-Leader editorial board's characterization of Lampe's proposed bill is just wrong.

I'm going to let it serve as a simple reminder that the public has a responsibility of their own to make sure they understand issues of importance.

I'm not going to advise people whether they should support a bill outlawing discrimination/bullying in the schools but, I did want to provide access to that bill for my readers so that they can make an informed decision based on the facts rather than the daily newspaper's characterizations of the bill and of Lampe's intent.

This is a blog. The News-Leader is supposed to be a news source, whether editorial reporting or not. I have to wonder if Lampe would have approved the scenario in which the News-Leader's editorial board involved her, that if blond haired, blue eyed students were being bullied:

"Parents would be outraged. Lawmakers would demand change. School officials would take action."

And that Lampe:

"... hopes for that kind of reaction -- as do we -- when she files a bill outlawing bullying of various categories of students, including those who are gay."

Because, it seems to imply that people would oppose it simply because there is no problem with bullying of blond haired, blue-eyed students and people would react differently if there were. That, I don't believe, is true. I think people, parents, lawmakers and school officials should be outraged at bullying and I do think they disapprove of bullying, not due to the victims eye color or race but because it's wrong. Why did the News-Leader feel they had to make it a race issue? I question that.

I believe you could ask any adult today if they were teased and made fun of when they were attending classes in the public school system and most would tell you yes, they were teased about something, at some time, while they were a student in public school. I could give examples but what's the point? We all know that's true. We all know it's a part of our lives.

So, if you think there needs to be a law outlawing bullying in the schools and want to support Lampe's proposed bill, that's your prerogative. I'm not sure there oughta be a law against life and human nature. I'm not sure we should punish children for learning and making mistakes as they learn how best to be socially interactive with their peers, but that's just me. I think the school system needs to try, to the best of their ability, to ensure there is no discrimination against any child for any reason in our schools and would agree it could be detrimental to their getting a quality education. I just view a part of that quality education as teaching children how to socialize with one another, these are children, learning those attributes.

Do you think there oughta be a law outlawing mistakes made by people? Mistakes hurt us. They hurt the people who make them and they can often hurt those people in the immediate vicinity of those who make them.

Should we legislate penalties and policies dealing with human mistake? Or should we learn from the mistakes we make, communicate internally with ourselves and externally with others about them and try not to make the same one again?

I think we all should consider how far we want laws to go in our lives, that's all. Not saying I support or oppose this particular law. But, I think we need to think about where the line will eventually be drawn if we do support it.

I, personally, think there oughta be a law against kids being allowed to go out in public with snot visible beneath their noses. They have to be taught to wipe their noses, that it's an offensive-to-look-at-condition. I know an adult who was never taught that. I've often seen him with snot visible beneath his nose.

Ms. Lampe? There oughta be a law.


tom said...

It is governments job to protect us from every conceived and non conceived problem that we will ever face in our life time.

Jackie Melton said...

I sure hope not, Tom. They don't have a very good record of problem solving. :)

Anonymous said...

Would this new bill put an end to the bumper stickers we see from time to time stating...

"My son beat up a _______ middle school honor student."

tom said...

speaking of honor roll students that brings to mind a question I've had for some time.
If you are driving around with one of those stickers proclaiming your child is an honor roll student from such and such school, what do you do if you find that the school is on the governments failing list?

Do you believe the school is still a great place to send your child thus believing the government is lying ?


Do you tear the bumper sticker off your bumper and proclaim that the school system is a failure but your child is still a genius?

Anonymous said...

It is people like Ms Lampe and millions of other so called well meaning people who have created a nation of wuzzes. Eventually there will be a law protecting us from everything except our government

Jeremy D. Young said...

As a student that attended the school which Sara Lampe was Principal of, I can say that the school did not actually help me achieve my potential. Now, her school may have kept the educational process from being an ABYSMAL failure, but I cannot determine that.

The Government "Education" system does not actually do anything to assist children in becoming educated. What the system does is teach everyone that they need to submit to authority, and look to peers for acceptance. It requires teachers to follow useless paper trails and engage in a bureaucratic nightmare that drives all spark from educators and students alike. This is just the way Government operates. Why should we expect anything different from a Government school? By promoting children through grades only based upon age, not ability, it removes any possibility of people dealing with actual intellectual peers, but forcing them to fit into the mold of average, which is dragged downward annually in an attempt to show "progress" to the people that are paying for this monstrosity.

If you didn't drill that into everyone, you couldn't have a massive Federal Government like we currently have. Everyone would revolt at the liberties we are having stolen from us on a weekly basis by all the branches of the Federal Government.