Dear Sen. [insert name]: I strongly urge you to vote against H.F. 826, the so-called “Anti-Bullying Bill,” and to urge your colleagues to do likewise. It is absolutely unnecessary, unfair, and probably unworkable, with many unintended consequences.
It is not necessary because every parent, teacher, school, community and society in general has rules and expectations of behavior for our children, and common-sense means of teaching against and correcting childish missteps. There is already a state law requiring schools to have an anti-bullying policy, in addition to the obligations schools have always had to teach common values like respect and trustworthiness. The new law is unnecessary because this status quo is succeeding. We do not need more law.
The new law is unfair because it defines bullying in an entirely new way and imposes that one-size-fits-all definition not on everybody equally – for that reason alone a bad idea – but only those whose behavior is directed against a member of a “special class” defined in the law. This in essence alters the definition of bullying to that of a “thought crime” based on the group identity of the child supposedly being bullied—from tangible behavior to intangible “intent.” Rather than correcting behavior, we are trying to force politically-correct thinking onto children who may not even know enough to “know better.” In short, don’t ALL kids deserve to be protected from bullying behavior, as in current policy?
Worst of all, this unnecessary and unfair bill is unworkable because of the huge bureaucracy and cost involved—haven’t we seen enough idiocy from those rigid zero-tolerance policies—and likely to have exactly the opposite effect intended. It replaces the occasional childish misbehavior with massive bullying by the almighty state, and for the crime of “wrong thinking” rather than for egregious bad behavior. This will create a poisonous atmosphere in our schools, where no one will dare speak to anyone for fear of offense, and the heavy hand of the law will be used as a weapon by children that this law allows to amplify any grievance. You know, parents used to teach their children not to bully (and still do), but they also taught us how to deal with bullies, particularly of the old “sticks and stones” variety. It almost always stopped the verbal abuse, but without making a Salem witch trial out of it, and it was only applied to true abuse, not some complaint fabricated to stifle free speech or a difference of opinion, or just to settle some childish “score.” This law creates a world none of us wants, so again, please work against this bill. Thank you.