Thursday, June 7, 2012

Illinois Legislators believe anti-bullying Law Promotes Homosexuality


Many school district administrators are lukewarm about the future of an anti-bullying bill that failed in the Illinois Senate last week, saying they believe it was repetitive and potentially another unfunded mandate.
House Bill 5290 required 30 votes to pass and failed 29 yes to 21 no. State Sen. Sam McCann voted no and state Sen. John Sullivan voted as “present.”
The piece of legislation spent time defining bullying, as well as its negative effects, the mediums used and the groups affected before resolving that each school district should adapt a bullying policy that is updated once every two years and filed with the Illinois State Board of Education.
When Sullivan sent a survey to area superintendents asking for input, Winchester School District Superintendent David Roberts said he was supportive with some reservations.

To Roberts, the bill seemed repetitive.
“We already have some anti-bullying programs in place and we already have to do our Internet user policy updates with students annually,” he said.
Jacksonville School District 117 Superintendent Les Huddle was “lukewarm” about whether the bill passed, he said.
“While I believe in rules and regulations, it’s more a matter of what’s going to happen inside the classroom that’s going to curtail bullying,” he said. “I’m not sure policies and rules and regulations will do it.”
For example, there may be a rule on the highway that says the speed limit is 55 mph, but not everybody follows it, he said.
“Maybe that’s a legislator’s way of trying to deal with it,” Huddle said. “The fact is we aren’t going to be able to address bullying just by making rules alone. It will be in actual practice in the classroom, in schools and in our community.”
Some legislators opposed the bill because they believed it would promote homosexuality.
“There are anti-bullying programs that have an agenda, to only protect one class of individuals,” said state Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Highland, during a floor debate, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Some of these programs are very good. They indeed encourage kids not to bully. But there are programs throughout the United States, used in some high schools and universities, that really have just a pro-homosexual agenda and nothing but that.”
Bullying is inappropriate and needs to be dealt with no matter what the topic, Huddle said.
The only mention of sexual orientation in the entire piece of legislation is in one paragraph describing the bullying. It is among a list that includes race, color, religion, sex and about 15 other topics.
The training and curriculum associated with implementing a bullying policy could be another added expense not funded by the state.
“While it may not look like a great expense, it’s an expense to the day,” Huddle said. “It takes away from reading, math, science and social studies as we have to dive into some of these things.”
With technology, modern bullies are clever, using text messaging, Youtube and social media sites, Roberts said. School districts need to be vigilant about it.
“Even though it didn’t pass, it’s not like any school is going to stop their current efforts on bullying,” Huddle said. “It’s become a very hot topic in education and almost all districts are stepping up their efforts to curtail it and get it down to almost zero instances in schools.”

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