Education Dept: The anti-bully bully

At a recent anti-bullying conference our dear comrade leader claimed that he was a “victim” of bullying and vowed to throw the full weight of the government leviathan behind efforts to stop it (story here). Apparently the regime has solved all the other problems facing America today.

Speaking as a parent and as a victim, Obama urged everyone to help end bullying by working to create an atmosphere at school where children feel safe and feel like they belong. He said that even he felt out of place growing up.

“I have to say, with big ears and the name that I have, I wasn’t immune,” said Obama, who moved around a lot as a boy, being born in Hawaii and growing up there and in Indonesia. “I didn’t emerge unscathed,” he said.

Notice the obligatory “being born in Hawaii” reference – as if that has anything at all do do with the story. Our poor dear comrade leader was a “victim” of childhood bullying. Perhaps that would explain why he’s such a bully now.

Possibly as an outcome of this conference, the Department of Education has announced new mandates for school administrators to stop bullying by any means necessary or face federal lawsuits. The new mandates include monitoring student behavior outside of school (story here from the DC).

Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students’ lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed by Washington special-interest groups to be harassment of some students.

There has only been muted opposition to this far-reaching policy among the professionals and advocates in the education sector, most of whom are heavily reliant on funding and support from top-level education officials. The normally government-averse tech-sector is also playing along, and on Mar. 11, Facebook declared that it was “thrilled” to work with White House officials to foster government oversight of teens’ online activities.

The agency’s threats, which are delivered in a so-called “Dear Colleague” letter,” have the support of White House officials, including President Barack Obama, who held a Mar. 10 White House meeting to promote the initiative as a federal “anti-bullying” policy.

The letter says federal officials have reinterpreted the civil-rights laws that require school principals to curb physical bullying, as well as racist and sexist speech, that take place within school boundaries. Under the new interpretation, principals and their schools are legally liable if they fail to curb “harassment” of students, even if it takes place outside the school, on Facebook or in private conversation among a few youths.

“Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cell phones or the Internet… it does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents [but] creates a hostile environment … [which can] limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school,” according to the far-reaching letter, which was completed Oct. 26 by Russlynn Ali, who heads the agency’s civil rights office.

School officials will face lawsuits even when they are ignorant about students’ statements, if a court later decides they “reasonably should have known” about their students’ conduct, said the statement.

So let me get this straight. School teachers and administrators are supposed to monitor every student’s behavior both inside and outside the school for something that might conform to some federal bureaucrat’s nebulous description of bullying? Is this for real? According to the government description, someone with a sufficiently thin skin could point to a Facebook post or hallway conversation that would bring the full force of government down on the school. What planet are these people from?

The remedies being pushed by administration officials will also violate students’ and families’ privacy rights, disregard student’s constitutional free-speech rights, spur expensive lawsuits against cash-strapped schools, and constrict school official’ ability to flexibly use their own anti-bullying policies to manage routine and unique issues, said the NSBA letter. The government has not responded to the NSBA letter.

The leading advocate for the expanded rules is Kevin Jennings, who heads the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Jennings founded the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network advocacy group, and raised at least $100,000 for the Obama campaign in 2008, according to Public Citizen, a left-of-center advocacy group. In an September 2010 interview on the government’s StopBullying.gov website, Jennings said that “in a truly safe school … students feel like they belong, they are valued, they feel physically and emotionally safe.”

Kevin Jennings and his GLSEN organization have a decidedly nefarious past (more here). Here’s an excerpt from the linked post:

Out of curiosity to see exactly what kind of books Kevin Jennings and his organization think American students should be reading in school, our team chose a handful at random from the over 100 titles on GLSEN’s grades 7-12 list, and began reading through.

What we discovered shocked us. We were flabbergasted. Rendered speechless.

We were unprepared for what we encountered. Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air. One memoir even praised becoming a prostitute as a way to increase one’s self-esteem. Above all, the books seemed to have less to do with promoting tolerance than with an unabashed attempt to indoctrinate students into a hyper-sexualized worldview.

This whole thing sounds like something out of Orwell’s 1984. The best thing we can do is demand that congress abolish the Department of Education.

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4 Responses to “Education Dept: The anti-bully bully”

  1. THIS WAS QUITE A READ MOOK !! … I’ll have to investigate !!! .. Sounds absolutely bizarre !! … What is happening to our world ?!!! …

  2. I’m so glad I don’t teach anymore. What I thought was pretty bad has really begun to pass the point of no return. This is complete, total nonsense.

    While cruelty and meanness should never be excused, both are a fact of life and we are truly going to raise a generation of wimps who can’t even take the slightest bit of ribbing, insult, or any other offense without falling completely to pieces.

    And this is fixing society? Putting us in a fix is more like it.

    I just hope the kids of today don’t have to face their own World War II… or worse. If we do, America, which is already wandering with a blindfold, will be completely lost.

    • Good points Charlie – spot on.

      This is what happens when you have a central (federal) bureaucracy totally out of control. I hesitate to use the word “federal” because the concept of federal republic, the founding principle of our government, was trashed long ago.

      Thanks for the comment!

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