Two of the leading Christian advocates in the U.S. have combined efforts to come up with a way to measure school anti-bullying policies for their fairness to all and for their appropriate handling of any bullying offense, not just those that alarm homosexuals.
Noting that sometimes school proposals or policies “protect … only a select few favored by activist groups advancing a homosexual agenda,” the Alliance Defending Freedom announced today it has worked with Focus on the Family in order to come up with an “Anti-Bullying Policy Yardstick.
It lists a series of factors for anti-bullying policies and describes to parents and others what to watch for when evaluating a local district’s plans or ideas.
“All students deserve to be protected from bullying, not just ones favored by certain political activist groups,” said Jeremy Tedesco, legal counsel for the ADF. “And all schools need help to ensure that their policies comport with their students’ First Amendment freedoms and other legal protections. This tool is designed to provide that help.”
In short, a good anti-bullying policy, if a district wants one, “provides a precise definition of ‘bullying’ that regulates bullying conduct” and “focuses on the acts or words said by the alleged bully rather than the intent or motives behind the actions,” the ADF said.
The Yardstick, for example, explains that a good policy includes “precise definitions” and is not “overly vague.” It also “addresses verbal expression traditionally not protected by the First Amendment.”
Bad policies use broad terms like “offensive” and “emotional distress” and target student expression traditionally protected by the First Amendment, it said.
The project is coordinated with Focus on the Family’s True Tolerance website, which provides detailed information to students, parents and educators on the issue of bullying.
For example, it reveals that information from organizations such as the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, Human Rights Campaign, National Education Association, Planned Parenthood and others “could potentially put schools in danger of violating constitutional principles and/or parental rights…”
That’s because they “present negative portrayals of some religions and/or give favorable portrayals of other religious or spiritual beliefs,” the site explains. Or they “promote school activities that would single out or ostracize religious and/or socially conservative students.”
They also “politicize the school environment with lobbying campaigns and one-sided messages about controversial issues that are not yet decided by the majority of the American public.”
And they “sexualize classes with one-sided messages promoting homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, etc., while excluding other viewpoints.”
An example of that is the promotion provided by GLSEN for its “Day of Silence.” That day, which is used to promote homosexual activities in public schools, according to the promotional materials from GLSEN, can be used by children to “catapult change at your school.”
Focus on the Family reported, “GLSEN reveals the political agenda behind the celebration, with the wording … ”Participating in the Day of Silence is great, but why stop there?'”
It also explains that students should use “gender-neutral” pronouns, such as “hir” and “ze.”
“It appears that GLSEN is engaged in a quest to remake the English language in schools to accommodate transgender activism,” Focus reported.
The anti-bullying campaign information explains that GLSEN goes even further, defining a number of terms but that stating there is “no definition” for woman.
“After giving students many definitions like ‘genderqueer,’ ‘androgynous’ and ‘transsexual,’ the GLSEN student manual lists ‘man’ and ‘woman’ as having no definition. The message is perfectly clear: God-designed biological genders have absolutely no meaning, so people can create their own gender and sexuality an way they see fit,” Focus reports.
The GLSEN material also explains that accepting homosexuality still is “homophobic” and the real goal is “nurturance,” or assuming “that gay/lesbian people are indispensable in our society.” Focus reports that the material also demands that students identify if they are Christian and reveal if they identify as transgender, intersex, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or questioning.
“The … exercise – recommended for high school age – instructs facilitators to have participants form a circle and then read a list of statements out loud … Students are encouraged to step into the circle if the statement applies to them. Clearly these statements put schools at risk of invading student privacy and singling out students with certain religious or personal beliefs,” the website explains.
Tedesco said it’s unfortunate, but some “activist groups that promote homosexual behavior often dupe schools into adopting policies that protect students based on their ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity,’ which can unconstitutionally silence students who want to express their biblically based views on sexuality.”
He said, “This new Anti-Bullying Policy Yardstick helps schools identify which policies are driven by a narrow political agenda and which ones protect First Amendment freedoms.”
The ADF said the program will help school officials “detect strictly pro-homosexual programs propagated in the name of ‘safe schools’ or ‘anti-bullying.'”
The program offers options for students and parents to email to their school specific information about policies and the pitfalls of adopting something programmed by a special interest organization promoting homosexuality.
A cover letter explains that “homosexual behavior advocates are demanding that protections for ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ be inserted into existing anti-bullying policies so that inappropriate, sexually based materials can be promulgated to our children.”
A result of that is that “schools are being transformed from places of safety and learning to places of unprecedented sexual education.”
The True Tolerance site offers tools for protecting parental rights, facts on bullying and a model policy, examples of program materials that should cause parents concern and details on how to respond to pressure from homosexual promotions.
The Yardstick itself outlines how any good policy recognizes the First Amendment and defines bullying based on conduct, “not upon motive or intent.” It also would prohibiting bullying of all students, not just those part of a special interest group, and provides clear guidelines for teachers to follow to minimize liability.
A good policy also respects the limits of a school’s authority to only regulate on-campus activity and does not use materials from homosexual activists. A good policy also provides notice to parents and investigates anonymous complaints “only when good cause or threat of imminent physical harm exists.”
Good policy also recognizes the rights of private schools.
A bad policy uses terms such as “uncomfortable” and “alarming” and punishes the alleged bully based on how “the victim perceives the bully’s acts/words or how the victim ‘feels.”
A bad policy also punishes based on “motives.”
“This dangerous approach invites all kinds of inquiry and invasion into the private thoughts and beliefs of students, and permits punishing students based on those thoughts and beliefs. Further, such an approach opens the door to improper and unlawful attempts to ‘re-educate’ students and to help them ‘think’ or ‘believe’ the ‘right thing,'” the organizations explained.