Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed a new anti-bullying law. He says this new law expands the definition of bullying to include communications via e-mail, text message or social networking Web sites. Quinn says the new law “helps schools protect students so they can succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.”
This new law requires Illinois schools to have gang-prevention training and creates a 15-member School Bullying Prevention Task Force in the state.
We have teachers being laid off, yet we’re creating a “bully task force”? I’m not saying bullying is a good thing, but we’ve had bullies since time began. Cain bullied Abel. Am I in favor of gangs in schools? Heck no. And I think bullies are cowards that need to be dealt with. I just don’t see how a law is going to change anything.
Since when has a law stopped anybody from doing bad things? Have gun laws kept guns out of criminals’ hands? Have laws against stealing kept people from robbing banks? Have laws against corruption kept governors from trying to sell Senate seats?
How did we used to handle these things? We’d report it to our parents, and then one of three things would happen:
1. Dad would take us to the garage and teach us how to beat the snot out of the bully. “Learn to fight or you’ll always be a victim”; that was his mentality. He’d pull out the boxing gloves and punch us in the face over and over again until we learned to punch back.
2. We’d report the bully to our parents, and our parents would go to the bully’s parents – who would then beat the snot out of their own kid for being such a jerkwad. Sure, you’d get nasty looks from the bully at school, but he knew he couldn’t touch you without suffering his own parents’ wrath again once you told your folks.
3. You got pummeled daily, learned to live with it, and then grew up to own a multi-million dollar corporation that you could shove into the face of the bully at your high school’s twenty-fifth year graduation.
But now we have bully task forces? Like our teachers aren’t bogged down enough with work as it is with all of the layoffs and having to handle double the students, extra-curricular activities, and more? Apparently letting kids work through their differences on their own is no longer an option. We had to pass laws to make it illegal to bully somebody – and now our overworked teachers are going to be expected to enforce this law.
And how on earth are you supposed to monitor cyber-bullying, anyway? What IS cyber bullying? Are kids continually poking each other on Facebook? We used to get grounded for doing that in the back seat of the car on family vacations. “MOM – BILLY’S POKING ME!”
Now it’s actually against the law to do that. Tell your nine-year-old in the back seat that it’s now illegal to pick on his little brother. I give you ten miles, maximum, before he gives a rat’s patootie about some law. I’m not saying it’s right, but picking on the weak is in our blood.
How are we supposed to even know when someone is being cyber-bullied? In the old days you could look on the playground and see that Sammy Wilkerson had his face ear-high in a mud puddle, being held there by Wally Decker’s Air Jordans. Cyber-bullying takes place via email or social networking sites. Are teachers expected to monitor every single student’s online activity and correspondence on the off chance they are being intimidated? Even if you agree with the absurd notion that students would willingly give their teachers the URL addresses and passwords for their Facebook and Twitter profiles, that wouldn’t leave any time whatsoever for the teachers to do anything else, like say… oh… teaching.
And what happens if the schools don’t properly enforce this law? Check this out. According to Darren Reisberg of the Illinois Board of Education, “We ultimately have the ability to come in and address the district’s funding.” That’s right teachers, if you don’t control your bullies, you lose funding for your school.
It’s strange how similar that sounds to, “Eat this dirt, pipsqueak, or give me your lunch money.” Congratulations, Governor Quinn – you just succeeding in becoming a bully.