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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

MCCSC did not need to update the anti-bullying policy.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Did the MCCSC School Board really need to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in the school system's anti-bullying policy? First, let's look at the following quote from the MCCSC anti-bullying policy, courtesy of the Herald-Times and the H-T Passing Notes blog:

Bullying behavior toward a student, whether by other students, staff, or third parties is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. This prohibition includes physical, verbal, and psychological abuse as provided herein.

Seems pretty straightforward to me. For a longer version, see the MCCSC Policy Manual.

Simply put, there was no need for special protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. The anti-bullying policy was already universal and applied to all students. Instead of changing the policy, MCCSC should enforce the policy that already exists. If there are teachers or administrators who refuse to enforce the anti-bullying policy, whether through malice, negligence, cowardice, laziness or incompetence, fire them. Then the bullied student's family should be exempted from paying taxes to the school system.

There are two kinds of people who disagree with me. The first kind will flagrantly lie about me and make things up out of whole cloth in order to smear me, accusing me of supporting bullying against homosexual students, even after I explicitly said bullying should not be tolerated. These people are liars. You will never find a single time I have supported bullying in any context, because I have never done that. People who falsely accuse me of supporting bullying do not deserve to be treated with respect and should be exposed and condemned as liars.

The second kind of person will make an argument that a population that has been targeted by bullies or is more vulnerable to bullying should get more protection. This kind of person I can at least respect, even though I disagree with their conclusion regarding the best policy. If you can make a reasonable argument based on facts and logic in an honest and civil manner, I can engage you in a productive conversation.

The problem is that if you need to craft a new policy to protect students who are not currently being properly protected under an anti-bullying policy that already protects all students, the challenge is implementation rather than policy. That will not change unless you replace or re-train the personnel you have, and changing the policy will not be effective if the implementation continues to be defective. Again, if teachers or administrators are not properly enforcing the anti-bullying policy they should be terminated from their employment.

Putting rules on top of already existing rules to show "we really, really, really mean it this time" is not the way to solve the issue of bullying. It is actually very simple: Students are to treat other students with respect, and threats, intimidation, harassment and so forth will not be tolerated. Once that policy is in place, enforce it. That is how you show you are committed to protecting students from bullying.

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