Bullying or harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, acts reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, physical appearance, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory disability, or by association with a person who has or is perceived to have one or more of these characteristics.
which was added at some point in one of the editions. I don’t see it in the ‘fifth edition’, but it seems to be in the ‘filed’ version (I can’t detemine if ‘filed’ is the first or most recent version – assuming ‘most recent’).
I’m disappointed for a couple reasons:
1. I’m not generally in favor of stuff like this being legislated. Why schools can’t just write their own policies saying that they won’t tolerate this sort of crap, and not have to be forced in to doing it, I dunno. I realize it’s a bit hard to define ‘bullying’ in a handbook, but I take Potter Stewart’s view of bullying – you know it when you see it. Some of the other text in the bill does a decent enough job generalizing it already.
2. The whole paragraph above including ‘race, gender, sexual orientation’, etc. was completely unnecessary, and just gave more reason for some people to be against the bill (“let’s not elevate sexual orientation – a preference – to that of race – something you’re born with” – per Frank’s article linked to above). Bullying is bullying, and while they have the ‘but not limited to” clause above, it’s still perceived as “this is what you can’t bully people about”. I was bullied for years by numerous people, and it never had anything to do with sexual orientation, race, gender, mental disability, etc. In fact, it was generally because of my mental *ability* – I was too smart for most people around me to deal with, and the way some peers dealt with their own feelings of inadequacy (which I guess I amplified by comparison) was to intimidate me. Over stupid stuff, but it still ‘worked’ – I grew to hate/fear being in school by middle school.
I do like the reversal of logic point some people have pointed out: If we shouldn’t ‘protect’ people based on ‘choices’ (like sexual orientation) then we shouldn’t include religion in these sorts of ‘protection’ clauses. People choose what church to go to, or indeed whether or not to follow any sort of religion. I doubt we’ll ever see religious belief stricken from these catch-all legal clauses though.
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