Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Hawaii, it’s 1984 all over again

Monday, February 20, 2012
by James Hochberg

The Hawaii Legislature is currently considering the “Hawaii Safe Schools Act,” which claims to target bullying and harassment at schools. In reality, it is a mechanism for imposing a pro-homosexual, state-mandated orthodoxy on students and teachers.

The Board of Education already has a much more balanced policy that would be uprooted by this legislation. BOE Policy 2210 requires that student discussion of issues which generate opposing points of view shall be considered a normal part of the learning process in every area of the school program. It also mandates that teachers refer students to resources reflecting all points of view, that discussions—including contributions made by the teacher or resource person—be maintained on an objective and factual basis, and that stress be placed on learning how to make judgments based on facts.

This balanced policy would be uprooted by the act. The problems start with its definition of bullying, which includes behavior that a student finds “intimidating” based on his or her “gender identity or expression [or] sexual orientation.” Even worse, “harassment” is defined simply as “annoying, or alarming…expression that causes another student…to feel uncomfortable.” Rather than focusing on the bullying activities (name-calling, physical aggression), the act focuses on how the victim feels. the rest
This means that if two students were privately discussing, for example, biblical teachings on homosexual behavior, and another student overheard the conversation and claimed to feel “annoyed” or even moderately “uncomfortable,” then the two students could be punished for bullying. The act thus poses a real danger to the First Amendment protected rights of such students


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