Here Is A Guideline To Create An Anti-Bullying Policy That Does Not Become A Policy Used For Discrimination

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   12/3/2012

Anti-bullying policies sound nice and helpful, but they can also create an environment for "legal" bullying toward specific groups. One concern is that homosexual advocates will use the anti-bullying push to target Christians who don't support the homosexual lifestyle.

They can also use an anti-bullying policy to interject special curriculum supporting homosexual unions into the schools.

In response, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Focus on the Family joined together to created a guideline for anti-bullying rules in the schools. This guideline ensures that anti-bullying rules aren't targeted against certain groups of people.

In their guideline, a good bullying policy does the following:

  • -focuses on the act committed rather than the subjective feelings of the victim. It clearly defines what "bullying" is.
  • -does not prohibit freedom of speech as protected by the First Amendment.
  • -does not intend to judge the alleged bully's thoughts nor intends to re-educate one's beliefs.
  • -Special interest groups are not singled out. The policy prohibits bullying against all students, not just students who fall under certain characteristics (like race or sexual orientation) and does not require curriculum used by those special groups.
  • -does not step outside its realm of authority. When adopted by a school, this policy regulates activity done within school functions only.
  • -Parents are notified and given the opportunity to be involved when appropriate.
  • -Investigates anonymous complaints only when real threat exists, as some anonymous complaints are delivered to target harm toward a person or group.

(This is just a brief summary. To see more, visit this ADF site.)

This guideline will be a great help. I just wish I had it years ago.

I escaped high school before bullying toward Christians seemed to be the only acceptable form of bullying, but I did not escape this in my St. Cloud college.

It seemed that anywhere I turned in this college I heard blasphemy against my God. I should have suspected that this might be the case, because right away during orientation we were told specifically about discrimination toward certain minority groups, but nothing was said about discrimination toward Christians.

It bothered me that during this orientation we were told of rarely used words which offend some people, but nothing was said about the name of God being protected from misuse.

So, I visited the center on campus which seemed to work with minority groups and defend their rights. I explained that Christians are a minority, and they need to be defended on campus. I suggested that the school's orientation session alert students to the common misuse of the name "God."

I'm not sure if my words went any farther than that meeting. It seems that opinions from those under the "wasp" category (white, anglo-saxon, protestant) are stifled some amid those from other newly-discovered minority groups. I don't think they realized that when fighting to protect bullying against some, they can inadvertently bully others.

This bullying toward Christianity on campus seemed to reach a peak when the Passion of the Christ movie was released in 2004. I couldn't escape from it-- in the classroom, hallways, eating areas and elsewhere, sarcastic comments were made about the movie and toward Christians. This was especially bothersome when I'd hear the banter between my teacher and other classmates. I didn't always speak up, and often was afraid to, but one time I boldly did.

I attended a student council meeting where discussion was made for the council to adopt a college-wide statement supporting gay unions. How could this happen? I thought. Certainly they would keep in mind minority groups, like Christians, Mormons and Muslims who did not support this measure. What was the council hoping to accomplish by discriminating against the minority and making such a blanket statement?

At the time I was writing opinion pieces for the student newspaper, so I discussed the issue in my column. I stated reasons why I don't support it: partly because of who I believe God to be and partly because of what I see in society.

The response of letters in the next newspaper was horrific. In fact, the opinion page was expanded to fit more letters. Many of them were personal attacks on my beliefs, my writing, and my character. In the following issue, similar letters were printed. One very short letter, however, defended my freedom of speech and questioned why other letter writers could be so cruel. This bullying was allowed for at least three succeeding newspapers after my column was written.

As difficult as this was, I knew that I had done the right thing. I also made sure to continue making an appearance on campus. It was tempting to go to class and then quickly hide at home, but I made sure to continue showing my face at newspaper and student council meetings.

I wanted people to be able to see the face of the person others had claimed as hateful and to judge for themselves whether or not that claim was true. In my following column, I was told not to revisit the issue. So instead I wrote about the poor ability for students to be able to discuss controversial issues.

An anti-bullying policy that reflects the above list would have been a delight to me as a student. I could have handed something like this to the minority center I had visited during the beginning of my post-secondary education in St. Cloud. It would have reflected a broader range of support than I represented on my own two legs.

I'm truly thankful for places like Focus on the Family and Alliance Defending Freedom who have produced solid, well-thought-out tools for Christians.

For more tools, see Focus on the Family's True Tolerance website. They can send you informational packets and legal information to take with you to defend the First Amendment in your local schools. It's important that we not only stand up, but that we continue standing.

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