Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed a bill into law today that bans bullying in schools. According to the Des Moines Register:
Senate File 61 requires all Iowa schools to have policies by Sept. 1 that prevent and punish bullying or harassment of any student. Currently, 77 of Iowa's 365 public school districts have anti-bullying policies that include sexual orientation.
The bill (sf61) contains the following language:
b. "Trait or characteristic of the student" includes but is not limited to age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status.
Is there anything that they left off the list? How about "favorite sports team"? Or "favorite food"? Or are those acceptable grounds for bullying? I don't get why such a distinction is necessary - or why such a state law is necessary. Are there really schools out there that condone creating "an objectively hostile school environment" for their students?

If you really want to go deep into this, what about subject material of different courses? What about the 16 year old Nazi skinhead who has to sit through his history teacher talking about Hitler and the Holocaust in a negative way? What about the Christian who has to listen to her science teacher speak of Darwinian evolution or the Big Bang as absolute fact?

But back to the issue at hand, namely the definition of "protected classes." Surprisingly, the Register's article included a quote from Bob Stouffer, superintendent of Des Moines Christian School:
"The bottom line should be that bullying should not be tolerated for any reason," Stouffer said.

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