* The problems of bullying at schools has attracted much attention over the past several years, and the General Assembly has just sent an anti-bullying bill to the governor. Schools will have to adopt anti-bullying policies. It was watered down from its original format, which also required education and record-keeping.
This clause was also included…
Provides that nothing in the bullying prevention provisions is intended to infringe upon any right to exercise free expression or the free exercise of religion or religiously based views protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or under Section 3 or 4 of Article 1 of the Illinois Constitution.
That was probably added via an amendment because gay rights groups were helping push the bill. The definition of bullying includes the usual race, national origin, etc., but also includes sexual orientation….
“At long last, schools across the state will be uniformly required to take steps to protect vulnerable kids from bullying and violence,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s largest gay rights advocate.
“Students who are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are particularly vulnerable to bullying. And the attempted suicide rate rate among LGBT students, which is as much as three times higher than the general average, presents alarming evidence for just how urgently we need this law.”
Some on the religious Right were wary of the legislation, but it eventually passed the House unanimously and only two Senators voted against it.
Even so, Focus on the Family is not pleased…
Well, it’s happened again. Another state legislature has marched lock-step to the tune of the homosexual activist agenda—and once again, it will have a direct impact on local schools.
Why are the advocacy groups so excited? As we have previously explained, the problem with these laws—enumerating special protections for homosexual categories–is that activist groups are using them as the leverage they need to get things like homosexuality teaching into public school classrooms. For detailed examples, click here.
Focus on the Family believes that every student—no matter who they are or what they believe—should be protected from harm. But at the same time, laws should not be passed that can used as tools to sexualize and politicize the entire school environment. There are good alternatives that provide protection to kids, but avoid entrapment in identity politics—such as the fair and objective model anti-bullying policy language drafted by the Alliance Defense Fund.
Here’s that “model bill” language…
“Bullying” means systematic, repeated, or recurrent conduct committed by a
student or group of students against another student that causes measurable physical harm or
emotional distress. Verbal expression, whether oral, written, or electronic, is included within the definition of “bullying” only to the extent that (1) such expression is lewd, indecent, obscene, advocating for illegal conduct, intended to incite an immediate breach of peace, or the severe and pervasive use of threatening words that inflict injury; or (2) District administrators or officials reasonably believe that such expression will cause an actual, material disruption of school work.
The Illinois bill which just past is far more specific on what actually constitutes bullying…
“Bullying” means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
(1) placing the student or students in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ person or property;
(2) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ physical or mental health;
(3) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
(4) substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Bullying, as defined in this subsection (b), may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
It also specifies who the proposal covers…
…actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status, sexual orientation, gender-related identity or expression,unfavorable discharge from military service, association witha person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic is prohibited in all school districts and non-public, non-sectarian elementary and secondary schools.
I can see Focus on the Family’s point about their more neutral measure, but I just don’t get how this Illinois bill will inject “homosexuality teaching into public school classrooms.” The only education component already exists in our state’s original anti-bullying statute…
[Schools] must communicate its policy on bullying to its students and their parent or guardian on an annual basis
* As we all know too well, some things just make people go off, and “homosexual rights” is one of them. Tom Roeser’s latest post is about his outrage over WTTW’s airing of a Carol Marin interview with Rep. Deb Mell and her partner about their pending marriage in Iowa. Roeser is a longtime conservative activist with a weekly radio show on WLS and didn’t much care for the WTTW program…
So just remember this. Get a coalition started to be in readiness when the next `TTW fund-raiser comes `round. That’s when the solicitation airwaves will be filled with the total traditional…replays of the late Lawrence Welk where traditional family life was glorified…or re-do’s of Peter, Paul & Mary where the trio’s goal was peace toward all.
That’s when your campaign should get going. Stressing to all that just when they feel soft, tender-hearted and magnanimous, that `TTW has become an articulate instrument of the Left and the culture—for which the enthusiast Marin has become its leading advocate.
Give `em a buck and you’ll be rewarded by more Marin-gay marriage promo’d telecasts along with other exotic formulae of the Left… all sponsored by “viewers like you.”
The Tribune was far more tame…
The laws of individual states are starting to reflect this evolving sensibility. Only five states allow same-sex marriage. Nine others have laws recognizing civil unions or domestic partnerships that convey most or all of the rights of marriage, and six have laws that go part of the way.
With so many people conflicted over the definition of marriage, it makes sense to claim the common ground — and secure the benefits — that come with recognizing civil unions.
* Related and a roundup…
* Sun-Times: Gay couples deserve same marriage rights
* Mell unlikely to get blessing of gay marriage opponents in Illinois
* Lesbian state rep makes plea for same-sex marriage: Gov. Quinn, though called out by Mell, said he would like to see Illinois recognize civil unions. “I think that’s an issue that we can pass in Illinois, and I hope soon. I’ve known Debbie Mell since she was knee high to a duck,” Quinn said. “I honor her decisions.” However, Mell indicated civil unions were not enough.
* Mell Engaged, Lobbies for Same Sex Marriage
* Ill. state rep announces she will marry partner in Iowa
* Lawmaker’s engagement spotlights gay marriage (AP)
* Lawmaker’s engagement spotlights gay marriage “This is an issue that the [Republican] party ought to get off of,” Beaubien said of the GOP’s traditional opposition to gay marriage. “It’s a whole different mindset than when I was young.” Beaubien said he understands the polarization of issues like abortion, which inevitably moves people in one of two directions. “But what do you care what two grown adults do?” Beaubien said. “It just makes us look more strident than we probably should.”
* Schoenburg: Many — but not all — applaud Mell’s announcement
* Gay Activists Claim Victory with Illinois School Bill
* Latino leaders call for greater state presence
* Chicago aldermen lobby for state funding
* Legislature backs Daley’s effort to crack down on gun violence
* Lawmakers approve gun measure Daley pushed
* State Senate Approves Tough New Gun Measure
* Tribune: Flush with money
* Illinois House Passes Wage Theft Bill
* Measure to extend tuition freezes gets House OK
* Ill. Republicans make final effort to force vote on redistricting plan
* Cavaletto Infrastructure Development Bill Passes Senate
* The STAR bonds debate: Where does it stand?
* Tax increase for Collinsville’s Fairmount Park track goes to Quinn
* Daily Herald: Village should have final say on slots
* Our View: It’s time to help severely ill; approve medical marijuana
* Ill. lawmakers offer break to wrongly imprisoned