With more than 8 percent unemployment and Federal debt approaching $16 trillion, we might believe Washington is taking steps to preserve a Nation on the brink of catastrophe. If you think that, you are wrong. Instead, the Federal government is launching other initiatives; one of them is to stop a scourge that has befallen America: bullying.
It’s ironic that the Federal government, known for being the biggest bully (legally and sometimes not so legally), has vested itself in spending money it doesn’t have to solve what Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) calls a problem plaguing the Nation.
This week, the House likely will approve legislation that will provide grant money to States to stop bullying at schools. Yes, I said stop, as if kids being mean to other kids is something government can stop.
“It is time for us to stand together and stop bullying,” said Jackson Lee, the sponsor of the bill. “Everyone deserves to feel safe and free from persecution.”
Jackson Lee should know about this problem. The Daily Caller pointed out: “The congresswoman known for giving her staffers profanity-laced nicknames, throwing temper tantrums and, at times, throwing objects, has introduced anti-bullying legislation.”
It is another case of Democrats who want us to do as they legislate, not as they do.
“I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to vote in favor of my bill in order to keep U.S. citizens safe from harassment and to work toward making America bully-free,” said Jackson Lee.
The bill, H.R. 6019, would amend a current law that already allows Federal grants for programs meant to boost school safety: “establishing and maintaining accountability-based programs that are designed to enhance school safety, which programs may include research-based bullying prevention, cyberbullying prevention, and gang prevention programs, as well as intervention programs regarding bullying.”
Grants to stop bullying would be permitted under the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant program. The bill would authorize the spending of $40 million a year for fiscal years 2013 through 2017.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, does not want to be outdone when it comes to protecting children. This month, he signed an anti-cyberbullying bill into law. It requires that schools be more vigilant about cyberbullying of students and take steps to prevent it.
Legislators believe the problem can be handled with more government money. They want to make schools take greater responsibility to stop bullying students by using new protocols to make it easier for students to report online harassment. As if educators didn’t have enough on their plates, now they have to develop “bullying prevention strategies.”
Cuomo and his backers in the State Legislature say they will do all they can to ensure children feel safe at school.
The Associated Press reported that Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell said the following in his sponsors’ memo:
Cyberbullying is a new and especially insidious form of bullying. It allows bullies to do their work at a distance, outside of schools, in front of a broad audience and sometimes under the protection of anonymity. The use of technology to rapidly transmit vicious content to a wide audience makes acts of cyberbullying highly visible, more pervasive. Research has revealed a link between cyberbullying and low self-esteem, family problems, academic problems, school violence and delinquent behavior.
Sticks And Stones… But Names Will Never Hurt Me
I looked up the definition of cyberbullying: “It is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.”
It sounds like name calling to me, which makes my experiences with bullies as a boy a lot different.
Between grades 5 and 7, I was a fat kid with asthma. We lived in the country, and I spent three hours a day on the bus riding to a rural school. Almost all the kids called me names — Fat Albert was their favorite — but three brothers terrorized me. I can’t say I took daily beatings, but they happened at least once a week. I explained the cuts and black eyes to my parents as my clumsiness on the playground. I knew if I told them and then the principal was told, I would face worse. It turned out that my intuition was correct because two of those three brothers were convicted felons as young adults.
There was no getting around taking that bus every day. You can imagine I am not very sympathetic to kids who go on Facebook and have others say “mean” things about them. Here is an idea, kid: Quit Facebook! Quit anything that is cyber-something where others say cruel things about you.
Instead, we have Big Brother to rescue kids, to make schools ensure that the kids are nice to each other in cyberspace.
What exactly are the schools going to do if they catch Joe or Jill bullying another classmate in cyberspace? From what I can gather, they won’t do very much.
Let me give you two quick stories. In 1976, a kid had been robbing the boys’ locker room, stealing sneakers, money and anything else. On my last day of high school, I walked down the stairs to the locker room and saw my football coach — a man feared and revered by everyone — holding the thief up against a wall. I heard the kid bawling as I did a quick pivot and walked back up the stairs. It was a big school; I had never seen that kid before, but I think he got his lesson about stealing.
Go forward 30-plus years to my son who teaches middle school kids in London, England. A kid in the front row didn’t like something my son, a starting middle linebacker in college, said. The student picked up a large book, threw it and struck my son square in the face. The student’s punishment was a visit to the principal’s office and a one-day suspension.
When I was in school, the students were afraid of the teachers. Today, especially after Columbine, teachers are afraid of the students.
Whose fault is it? It’s the parents’ fault. And no amount of government money or proclamations from Federal and State lawmakers is going to make kids be more civil to each other. It is going to take the steady and sometimes stern hand from a father and mother to reduce bullying. It wouldn’t hurt kids to get thicker skins. Words are just that, words. And if you don’t like them, here is a suggestion: Go offline.
Yours in good times and bad,
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report