Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Louisiana Legislators Shelve Anti-bullying Bill Because It Protects LGBTQ Students

Apparently, Louisiana Legislators and the governor aren't too concerned about bullying; of LGBTQ students, or of anyone, for, once again, civil and gay rights activists failed to win approval for a strong anti-gay bullying law for the state's public school system.
Pat Smith
Democratic Representative Pat Smith believed her bill, House Bill 407, was vital to the safety to LGBTQ youth in schools, and cited evidence of current, and continued, bullying, including a recent suicide by a Point Coupee teenager who had complained to adults many times about being mistreated by her classmates. After being bullied, and telling people about, and realizing that nothing was being done to protect her, last month, seventeen-year old Tesa Middlebrook was found hanging from the bleachers of the school football stadium.
Opponents, lead by the conservative ironically named Louisiana Family Forum, along with aides to Governor Jindal, argued that the measure went too far by listing perceived or actual characteristics that should not subject a student to bullying.
After the committee bought that tactic, and then voted 10-5 to remove those key changes, including sexual orientation, Pat Smith shelved her own bill rather than try to work with a watered down version that really did nothing to protect LGBTQ students.
Current Louisiana law requires local school boards to write policies that prohibit "harassment, intimidation and bullying." It defines those terms as, "any intentional gesture or written, verbal or physical act that a reasonable person under the circumstances should know will have the effective of harming a student or damaging his property or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm."
Sounds good, but Pat Smith proposed some additions, but the most pertinent passage extended the definition to acts "a reasonable person under the circumstances would perceive as being motivated by an actually or perceived characteristic, including but not limited to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, exceptionalities, physical disability, intellectual disability, developmental disability, mental illness or emotional health disorder, language ability, sexual orientation, physical characteristics, gender identity, gender expression, political ideas or affiliations, socioeconomic status or association with others identified by such characteristics."
You know, bullying a kid because you 'think' he or she is gay.
Smith said the current definitions are too vague, and that many teachers and school administrators aren't well trained to recognize bullying, with some behaviors dismissed as "teasing." Worse, she said, some school employees choose not to protect certain students because of their own personal beliefs.
Jeff Thompson
Republican Representative Jeff Thompson was the one who proposed stripping the wording from the bill, saying, "It's the action, not the motive, that constitutes bullying."
Um, Jeff? You cannot have the "action" of bullying without a "motive". Not one single act of bullying has been done "just because;" there's always a motive, be it that the victim is gay, or perceived to be. Or the victim is fat or tall or skinny or Black or Latino, or any other characteristic that a bully deems as different, and there intolerable.
Jumping on the delusional bandwagon is Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills--he says he's an ordained minister--who told lawmakers, that the bill "introduces sexual politics" into the classroom and would discriminate against religious expression. 
Gene Mills
"You could make a criminal bully out of a child who holds an orthodox view of Christianity," he said.
Let me set this queer for you, you're a bigot who hides his hatred behind religion. Any person who says "I am against gay people because the Bible says so" is not a bully; they're decidedly and assuredly misinformed, but they aren't a bully. It's when they use their religion as hate speech, or use their religion to justify taunts and shoves and threats and physical or verbal abuse, that it becomes bullying.
Not one single person, anywhere, is saying you cannot have your religious beliefs about homosexuality. They are simply asking that you not berate, abuse, beat, taunt, tease, harass or harm anyone based on those beliefs.
Bobby Jindal
And let's toss Republican asshat governor, Bobby Jindal into the mix. He believes the list of characteristics in Smith's bill creates winners and losers--whatever that means because Jindal couldn't say. He's just a typical GOP goosestepper spewing words as thought hey have meaning, when, in fact,m they are meaningless.
Jindal, later, evaded answering any question's about Pat Smith's bill by saying he "supports a bill ... to protect children." 
Yet he was unable to cite the bill he supported that protected children.
In other words, if you're a public school student in Louisiana, and you are ":dsifferent' from the norm, for any reason, perceived or real, you can be victimized and bullied and harassed and, well, tortured to the point of suicide.
But remember, if it's done in the name of God, it's okay.
And remember, the governor wants to protect you, he just doesn't know how.
Or can't remember.


kathy said...

*aren't well trained to recognize bullying*

It can be so subtle and right under your nose.
I was with a sixth grade English class. We went to the library. A bunch of boys were all excited about a book - well, that's good, right. We got back to class. They placed the book in the middle of their table (kids sat four to a table) and made sure the cover was facing the boy at the corner of the desk. The boy was extremely overweight and the book was about the dangers of obesity. The teacher was in charge of 25 students and had to get thru that day's lesson and didn't see it. I did. I was able to remove the book, tell them to grow up but the damage was done for that day.

Cubby said...

The Republicans are so deep in their own evil they've become blind to it.

Stephen said...

Let this scare you... it is not impossible that the always charming Bobby Jindal could become the vice-president of this country.

Wonder Man said...

Why? Are they that stupid?

Ron said...

I never accepted bullying. Whether someone was trying to bully me or if I witnessed bullying. I put a stop to it either way. I'm not bragging on myself (maybe I am) but perhaps more people who witness bullying should get some balls and put a stop to it. It's easy to stop, just confront the bully or bullies. They're all cowards and they back down. Unless you're outnumbered, confront the bully. If you're outnumbered, report it. If that doesn't work, go up the chain. The first time I was bullied (first grade) I went home and told my father. He did nothing. That's when I decided I had to stand up for myself which is what I did. The bullying stopped. Remember, the bullies are always cowards who have issues. That's why they bully those they perceive weaker than themselves.

Don said...

Let me get this straight... The Democrats in this instance are all butt hurt because Republicans wanted the bill to protect everybody...?

I once saw a kid mercilessly bullied because his mother wore fur coats that smelled like smoke. According to Democrats that poor kid doesn't deserve protection from bullies because he doesn't fit a "protected class".

If you really think that there are only 8 reasons to bully another kid... you are a complete moron.

Additionally... the claim that bullies are motivated to pick on students who are "different" is completely false. Bullies pick on people who are weaker and have less support.

Bullies have their own internal motivations that rarely have anything to do with race, religion, sexual orientation... ect. Those people just make easier targets. If you focus teachers on ONLY protecting gay kids... then suddenly the fat kids just get bullied harder.

I'm basically calling you out as a bigot! Protect everyone equally. It's NOT OK for you to say bullying one kid is fine and another isn't.

Bob said...

First off Don, you're an idiot.

The Democrats want sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation, added to the list of those protected from bullying. Right now if a gay kid gets bullied the fact that he's gay doesn't matter.

And it should, asshat.

Second off, those "eight" reasons kids get bullied are my eight reasons there are the eight GOP reasons, and, therefore, don't include sexual orientation.

Read, before you comment, should be rule one for you.

Also, kids are bullied because they are different, and therefore, seen as weak. The fat kid, gay kid, girl with a lisp; those are differences. Even in your example, the kid was bullied because his mother wore stinky clothes.

That's a difference.

I'm guessing that since you know of no reason, other than being weak, as a reason for being bullied is that you are a bully and think you do nothing wrong.

You're a moron.

And as for me being a bigot, I want all kids protected, no matter what their differences, or their perceived differences.

Again, you're off track because you don't really comprehend what you read.