To the editor:
I was bullied. I did not fit in in school and therefore I was bullied in school.
I was bullied by being physically tormented (locker slammed shut, books knocked out of hand), verbally mocked, and shunned. I never considered suicide and I never considered shooting up a school. But, junior high and high school was a long 'torturous' time for me. And when I hear about kids or adults that were bullied in school I really do feel for them.
But, it is a heart issue. A heart issue for the folks that are doing the bullying. In fact, I encounter adults today that still exhibit the behaviors exhibited by the kids back in Junior High and High school.
Their heart was never changed. This is why I am extremely concerned about the "Anti-bullying" bill (HF 826) that is currently coming before the legislature. While I really appreciate the focus that is coming on bullying, and, I really want schools to provide better outlets and attention to kids that are bullied. I do not want a law that will turn the attention away from the problem and focus on things that are not problems.
Question: which of the 19 groups in society would I have fit in to for being bullied?? I submit to you that I did not fit any of them. And that is the issue. What good would this bill do for someone that is being bullied just because they are 'shy', 'different', and have parents that are a different generation than most of the other kids in school?
I agree that bullying, for any reason, is wrong. It does not matter what the reason is. Kids should not tease other kids. I agree that physically hurting, for any reason, is wrong. It does not matter what the reason is. There should be appropriate consequences for both activities. The consequences should be based upon the action of the perpetrator, not any perceived thoughts or reasons that the perpetrator did it. This way, someone like me, that doesn't fit into the 19 groups, can still be protected.
And then it doesn't matter what the 19 groups are and they don't need to be built into any anti-bullying bill. I wonder why we believe that we can determine with that kind of accuracy all the reasons why a student may or may not be bullied and why we don't instead address the actual act of bullying clarifying what is not acceptable?
I'm also very concerned about the intrusion upon the rights of private and religious schools. I have sent all four of my children to Marshall Area Christian School.
I did not send them there because of the special curriculum or the better extra-curricular. I sent them there so that they would be taught in a Biblical manner traditional values. The special 19 groups will most definitely impact the ability of a Christian School to function and fulfill the purpose for what it was set up to fulfill.
I urge you to oppose the bill that is currently making its way through the Minnesota Legislature and instead consider the alternative proposal based upon the North Dakota anti-bullying law.
Joseph H. Hulsizer