Alex Blaze

Focus on the Family's Model Pro-Bullying Policy

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 31, 2010 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bullying, Focus on the Family, lesbian, LGBT, policy, schools

Focus on the Family is going all out when it comes to schools, mainly to try to make the next generation of Americans more homophobic than the group of teens who just graduated. They know the battle is in schools since what they want to do is indoctrinate, and like the creationists of the last decade they're going to try to get more power within schools.

Anyway, here's a video selling their program to become one of their pro-bullying goons to make sure schools don't do anything to make schools safer for people who are different. Notice how the narrator says that it's important to protect children's "innocence and purity" above all else; their freedom, self-esteem, and lives are secondary.

Yesterday's post from Diane Silver reminded me of this post Bobby Parker wrote almost two years ago on Bilerico describing his life in the LDS church. Churches are just the site where misinformation is spread, and Focus on the Family provides the proper misinformation for those churches to tell their congregants. It's a well-oiled machine, and when you're inside it, you end up believing some crazy things.


Before I came out in January of 2006, my view of the GLBT world was dramatically skewed by my membership in the Mormon Church. I lived the years from my conversion in 1975 deep in what we might call Gay Mormon La La Land. It is a place spacious enough to house all 15,000 gay Mormons in Arizona and has no connection to the real world the rest of us live in.

At that time I had no personal friends who were gay so I had no concept of what it was like or how gays felt and lived. There were two gay women in my congregation that we completely shunned, and no one gay in my family or among my friends. Therefore, my information came directly from the Church and its members.

Since I didn't want anyone to know the real gay me, I never bothered to read anything about what was happening in the gay world because if I showed any interest at all I would blow my cover. I remember when the AIDS epidemic first struck I wanted desperately to take my energies and join the fight for a cure. But even mentioning wanting to do something so crazy brought me under suspicion.

Decades later I couldn't even feign interest in the commercials for Brokeback Mountain on TV and while I watched the Academy Awards and anguished inside over the win by that other movie, I could show no emotion at all.

There could not be a more uninformed man than I was when Brokeback Mountain burst on my scene. As a typical average Mormon, I was under the impression that:

  1. On average, gays are wealthier than the rest of us. Two incomes, no kids, they had to be.
  2. Without a doubt gays were as connected as the Mormons. We both had a cause. Convert the world!
  3. Gays were smarter than the average person on the street, well-educated, craftier, with an evil agenda.
  4. Many, too many, are in important positions in the community, industry, and government. (We LDS had been doing it for decades, so we assumed the gays had been doing it too.)
  5. We saw gays as a group that was totally in sync and connected, working together to undermine us with their "gay agenda."
  6. Lastly, and what drove us to intense action, that "gay agenda" would be the downfall of the Church, and the world, if we let them proceed with it. We were the saviors of mankind, since we were the one true church in all the earth, and when Jesus came he and we would rule the world!

I think my favorite is #5 - anyone familiar with real live LGBT activism knows better.

The FotF video repeats the same lie:

What parents need to realize is that there are activist groups who want to promote homosexuality to kids because they realize that if they can capture the hearts and minds of our children at their earliest ages, they will for all practical purposes have won the clashing values that we are currently experiencing in this culture.

If only so many LGBT people actually realized that.

The website she describes (called "True Tolerance," since true tolerance means tolerating intolerance... they apparently get their logic from the elementary school kids) does have its own anti-bullying policy that they want to promote in schools (below). What's remarkable is that it excludes any education to prevent bullying and instead just treats it as something that should be punished when it happens. It's just kids being kids, particularly the bad kids, and if you give them a time out they'll stop.

I often post about how using punishment to prevent certain behavior is ineffective if the punishment doesn't do anything about the motivation behind the behavior, and that's exactly what Focus is counting on. They know that schools can't possibly punish every kid who bullies, especially if the kids being bullied think that they deserve it (and if the school's message on sexuality is that gays should try to change because their difference cannot be tolerated, of course they won't report the fact that they're being bullied).

Moreover, schools that haven't confronted the homophobia often found in their faculty and staff won't respond to the gender policing they see as a normal part of growing up. Such a policy as the one below keeps gender and sexuality off the radar and lets teachers ignore anti-queer bullying.

Most importantly, tolerating this sort of attitude but waiting for a situation to get out of hand and then only punishing the bullies for their tactics, not their goals, only teaches them "Don't get caught."

Which is the entire point of FotF's anti-bullying policy. They know it's ineffective and that's why they want it implemented.


MODEL ANTI-BULLYING POLICY

I. PURPOSE

The [INSERT NAME OF SCHOOL DISTRICT] (the "District") recognizes that a safe
and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. The District finds that bullying, like other disruptive or violent behavior, is conduct that disrupts both a student's ability to learn and a school's ability to educate its students in a safe environment.

II. DEFINITIONS

A. "Bullying" means systematic, repeated, or recurrent conduct committed by a student or group of students against another student that causes measurable physical harm or emotional distress. Verbal expression, whether oral, written, or electronic, is included within the definition of "bullying" only to the extent that (1) such expression is lewd, indecent, obscene, advocating for illegal conduct, intended to incite an immediate breach of peace, or the severe and pervasive use of threatening words that inflict injury; or (2) District administrators or officials reasonably believe that such expression will cause an actual, material disruption of school work.

B. "School Premises" means any building, structure, athletic field, sports stadium or
other real property owned, operated, leased or rented by the District or one of its schools, including, but not limited to, any kindergarten, elementary, secondary, or vocational-technical school.

C. "School-Sponsored Functions or Activities" means a field trip, sporting event, or any other function or activity that is officially sponsored by the District or one of its schools.

D. "School-Sponsored Transportation" means a motor vehicle owned, operated, leased, rented or subcontracted by the District or one of its schools.

III. PROHIBITION

The District prohibits all bullying on school premises, at school-sponsored functions or
activities, or on school-sponsored transportation.

IV. REPORTING

Any student who believes he or she has been or is currently the victim of bullying should immediately report the situation to the school principal or assistant principal. The student may also report concerns to a teacher or counselor who will be responsible for notifying the appropriate school administrator.

Every student is encouraged, and every staff member is required, to report any situation that they believe to be bullying behavior directed toward a student. Reports may be made to those identified above.

All complaints about bullying behavior that may violate this policy shall be promptly
investigated.

If the investigation finds an instance of bullying behavior has occurred, it will result in prompt and appropriate disciplinary action. This may include up to expulsion. Individuals may also be referred to law enforcement officials.

The complainant shall be notified of the findings of the investigation, and as appropriate, that remedial action has been taken.

Retaliation against any person who reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint, or otherwise participates in an investigation or inquiry concerning allegations of bullying is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Such retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of Board policy and independent of whether a complaint is substantiated. Suspected retaliation should be reported in the same manner as bullying. Making intentionally false reports about bullying for the purpose of getting someone in trouble is similarly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation and intentionally false reports may result in disciplinary action as indicated above.

V. INTERPRETATION

This policy shall not be interpreted to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of students, and is not intended to prohibit expression of religious, philosophical, or political views, provided that such expression does not cause an actual, material disruption of the work of the school.


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Saw this on their site a while ago. All in all it's actually better than most existing policies on bullying presently implemented in school systems. It's purposefully inadequate, yes, but I guess they're banking on "let's not talk about any of the issues and act professional - maybe they won't notice!" to get this thing in some schools.

If nothing else this kind of policy wrangling highlights the need for LGBTQ mentors, role models, and volunteers in a local community. We can do a lot of good for kids just by being successful, visible, and willing to answer questions, so long as we have an avenue with which we can access kids.

...Which, in a sense, is what groups like ADF are really trying to deny us with this model policy.

They're tolerant of anyone with the same views they have. And they don't want their kids bullied. Period.