Is like fighting fire with fire – except the latter actually works (burning a controlled section of land surrounding a wildfire can deprive it of fuel and kill it).
Recently, the Massachusetts state House passed an update to an anti-bullying law that requires schools to report every incident, proven or alleged, to the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and to the attorney general’s office and legislature.
It also recognizes “that certain categories of youth are more vulnerable to bullying.”
Is bullying real? Yes. But how do you define it?
I’ve written about bullying in the past while working for a newspaper. I differentiate between physical bullying and emotional bullying. The first violates people’s rights because it is an act of aggression and violence. The second, however, is subjective.
Here is a snippet of a column I wrote on emotional bullying:
Nobody can provide a clear-cut definition. Merely from outward appearances, the difference between lighthearted jokes and friendly teasing from mean-spirited comments and cruel insults can be hard to separate.
Some definitions I’ve heard have ranged from very narrow to so vague and broad that merely telling someone you don’t like their fashion tastes could constitute bullying.
And even if someone actually could produce a solid definition, how do you stop kids from emotional bullying? Some, for example, consider the silent treatment, or refusing to associate with someone, to be a form of bullying.
How are you going to pass a rule forcing a kid to talk or associate with another kid? How do you ban rumor-spreading and gossiping? And who would actually think such a rule would produce the intended outcome?
Also, I feel like this should be obvious, but trying to get the government to solve bullying problems is like a husband turning to his mother-in-law to solve intimacy issues he’s having with his wife.
Among a thousand other flaws and repercussions, the state’s meddling in bullying will lead to a massive change in the way girls and boys behave around each other.
For example, how do you separate a boy who is bullying a girl to one who is teasing her because he has a crush on her and he’s immature about it? The outward behavior is often the same, but the intent is at opposite ends of the spectrum. In grade school I teased girls that I liked all the time. That’s what boys do. Girls do the same.
What this will do is lead to an environment where people will be afraid of saying anything to anyone, uncertain of how it will be taken. Boys will simply ignore girls rather than talk to them. Or will ostracizing be considered bullying, too?
Notice also that the bill only requires allegations of bullying for it to be reported. This means all a kid has to do is accuse someone of bullying to get it reported. Most kids will not abuse this. But the sadistic and resentful, the embittered and envious, will use it against those they hate.
And, like in Animal Farm, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. All bullying is wrong, but some bullying is more wrong than others, which is why certain groups will essentially have cart blanche when it comes to deciding whether they’ve been bullied or not.
In my humble opinion, such measures by the government are done as a passive aggressive, indirect way of controlling student’s speech, restricting their ability to question the State orthodoxy and force them to accept views, beliefs and values they do not hold.
For example, one of the groups protected by this bill are gay students. Suppose one of them asked another to attend a gay pride parade. The student said no and cited religious convictions that contradicted it. Is this bullying? Whether it is, the gay student is free to report it as such. Who gets to decide whether it is?
Scott Lazarowitz offers the best explanation of how to solve all these problems at once: Get the government out of education entirely.
Of course, the answer to the problems of bullying (and anti-bullying fascism) is to get the State out of the education business. Once the State got its grubby paws on the education system, that opened the door to any and every social activist — from the extreme religious fanatics to the extreme sex-pushers — to infiltrate their various agendas into the schools, so that there is now virtually no more learning of math and reading.
If and when I become a parent, the situation is only going to be worse than this. School classrooms will resemble little worker bee hives worthy of A Brave New World and the First Amendment and the concept of Freedom of Speech will be totally dead on campuses.
The only solution is to not participate in it.