by Dan Gibson
A quick note for Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, who singlehandledly used her lobbying power to kill SB 1462, which would have set up a system for reporting bullying on school campuses and programs to educate administrators, teachers and students on the dangers of bullying and how to spot it.
I suppose I'm supposed to be concerned that, as you reported in a blog post, that the father of an eleven year old girl had to "had to define for her the terms “homo” and ”fag” at [their] dinner table" because of an anti-bullying video shown at the child's school. That was probably sort of awkward.
I actually had to talk to my now ten year old about those same terms, but not because of a video, but because a student at his school calls him those terms nearly every school day. Now, even though my son reported to the school's principal that this verbal abuse was happening, even though I followed up with my own concerns, the solution was to make the bully and my son sit down and work on a project together. That "peace-building" exercise didn't really hold up, and the child was later suspended for kicking one of my son's classmates in the side, and then later briefly expelled. Now, the kid is back at school (apparently his mother threatened to sue the district over the expulsion) and back calling my son a "fag". Sometimes he eases it down a bit and goes with "Harry Potter", since my son has the unfortunate luck of needing glasses.
I honestly don't know if this new anti-bullying law would help my son's situation...laws aren't always the fix for these sort of things as anyone can realize. However, I suppose I'm less concerned about the bill was endorsed by groups that seek "to redefine marriage and to force cultural acceptance and affirmation of homosexual lifestyles." I guess I would like my son to be able to think of school as a safe place, since I suppose I'm obligated to send him there everyday.
I completely agree with Ms. Herrod that time in Arizona schools "should be for reading, writing, and arithmetic", but it's been a little difficult for my own child to get his head around learning when he's nervously anticipating what might happen on the playground. Again, I guess I'm supposed to be concerned about an awkward conversation some father had with his eleven year old, but for now, I sort of have bigger fish to fry at my own house.