A new bill in Illinois that would necessitate that schools adopted stringent anti-bullying policies has been met with a great deal of opposition from the Concerned Christians of America and the Illinois Family Institute. These groups are against aspects of the legislation because they feel it would challenge some students’ moral and/or religious beliefs.
Quoted in Christian Science Monitor the Illinois Family Institute claims that the new bills real aim is “to use public education to promote unproven, non-factual beliefs about the nature and morality of homosexuality and ‘transgenderism’.” They see the new bill as merely a guise for “homosexual activist organizations’ and a way for them to ‘indoctrinate’ pupils and teachers.
However according to the Christian Science Monitor, the bill does not instruct schools specifically what to say about bullying – and there is definitely nothing in it regarding homosexuality. It does not instruct schools to teach tolerance, rather just insisting that the schools have an anti-bullying policy in place that is accessible to students via a website or handbook.
The bill also instructs that children should be able to report incidents of bullying with anonymity and states what should be done if a student is found to be bullying others.
Schools would also be required to take steps that teach bullies “personal and interpersonal skills” and “build and restore relationships.” How to do that is left up to each school and each community. Seems reasonable so far, you would think?
However, the IFI have requested that bill include a provision that allows for students to get out of anti-bullying lessons if they are ‘contrary to their beliefs’. But supporters of the bill are against this idea.
It is easy to see why, I mean how long do you think it would take the smarter bullies to figure out that they could avoid being punished for their bad behavior by claiming a moral or religious standpoint. It would almost entirely defeat the purpose of the bill.
The groups who are for the bill include the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union, and the gay rights campaigners Equality Illinois. They claim the bills’ only agenda is see bullying eradicated from schools.
As hard as I try, I cannot see why concerned parents would not want to see the schools in their state adopt an anti-bullying policy. It would be interesting to see what would happen if the Christian kids were in the minority and they were the ones being bullied by the homosexual kids – who were constantly bagging them about their religious choices. The IFI might not be so quick to condemn such a bill then!