Friday, January 27, 2012

Anti-Bullying Bill Filed In Kentucky House

This from WLEX:
Louisville Rep. Mary Lou Marzian on Friday filed Anti-Bullying House Bill 336 (HB 336) in the Kentucky State Legislature.

The measure would strengthen Kentucky's current anti-bullying statute by enumerating protected classes of students who are disproportionately targeted by bullying peers, as suggested by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. This includes protections based upon a student's actual or perceived race; religion; sexual orientation; gender identity; physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability; and other distinguishing characteristics.

Updated from last year's proposed law, HB 336 incorporates language from a 2011 amendment by Elizabethtown Republican Rep. Tim Moore affirming a student's right to religious freedom of speech regarding sexual orientation: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit or deny the civil expression by any student of religiously based opinions on issues related to sexual orientation" (Section 3).

Though Kentucky passed a broadly-worded anti-bullying bill in 2008, tales of continued harassment along with the recent tragic suicide of Woodland Middle School eighth-grader Sam Denham in Northern Kentucky have prompted officials to pursue stricter language in the law. A House panel on education approved the measure last year with a nearly unanimous 21-1 bi-partisan vote.

A Feb. 22, 1:30 p.m. Fairness Coalition Rally will be held in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort to support anti-bullying legislation along with statewide anti-discrimination Fairness laws (SB 69, HB 188), which would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to a recent survey, 87% of registered Kentucky voters support stronger anti-bullying protections, while 83% of Kentuckians support statewide anti-discrimination Fairness laws.


Anonymous said...

So a student is allowed to say a gay classmate is a sinner and going to hell due to his/her sexual orientation because the comment is based in the speaker's religious value system, but an athiest kid gets punished for saying the same thing?

The law says that harrassment is based upon the recievers interpretation of the comment. If it considered harrassment and the person has asked the individual making the comment to stop and they don't, then it is harrassment regardless of your religious background - there is no get out jail free card because you get to tag your comments with some religious footnote.

So if an extreme fundamentalist group believes that pre-marital sex is worthy of stoning, are we going to allow that too?

The laws are currently in place for all students protection, we don't need legislators monkeying around with them - just consistent inforcement.

Similarly, it is my perception that Kentuckians don't want stronger laws as much as they want stronger punishments. People have to face the fact that educators can try to teach, monitor and even punish kids but we can not guarantee or control every action every child. As the prisons indicated, we can't even do that with adults. Sometimes, a few people make bad choices and you have to deal with it as best you can. You can't legislatively terminate misbehavior

Anonymous said...

We really need training in Fayette County Public Schools. There are so many instances of students who are bullied for being "gay." Principals, teachers, counselors simply don't seem to know how to handle this issue.

Anonymous said...

Bullying is bullying, what difference does it make if you are bullied for your skin color, religion, sexual orientation, etc?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the adults at the rally failed to hold the door for others who came into the Rotunda, offered a harsh remark to a family member within the last 24 hours or failed to offer a salutation to their colleague the previous day?

It seems at times that we are increasingly becoming more self absorbed as we incesently twitter every five minutes about the value meal we selected at McDonalds or what our favorite shade of orange is. We send biting emails with words and ideas we would never say to someone in person and we spend countless hours voyeristically watching ideodic reality TV where the most outrageous and tittilating behavior is not only viewed as acceptable but sometimes even modeled.

My point is that our culture doesn't seem to place a high value on cordiality or sensativety unless it is in relationship to what we wish to receive and not necissarily what we give to others. Stop treating schools like they are preasure cookers for bullying behavior or holding teachers responsible for raising your children. I constantly see parents disengaged from their parenting responsiblities and unwilling to engage their children when they misbehave in public. If those parents don't get it done, then how are educators suppose to do that, especially when teacher intervention most likely will not be supported by these very same parents.

Bullies are not impersonal, one dimetional characters, they are the same as the kids who are being harrassed.