http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2012-05-21/bullying-bill...

Read this story this evening and found it quite interesting. The story is about an anti-bullying bill that is in the Illinois general assembly right now that conservative Illinoisan groups such as "Illinois Family Institute" and "Concerned Christians of Illinois" are objecting to. The conservative groups feel that the bill is aimed "to use public education to promote unproven, nonfactual beliefs about the nature and morality of homosexuality and 'transgenderism'" and that it will create a beachhead of sorts to propagate pro-homosexual ideas.The conservative groups have agreed to drop all protests as long as students are given the option to opt-out of events and lessons that they find objectionable.

The article seems to have a slant against the conservative groups and argues that there is little in the bill to cause such a stir since how bullying is dealt with is handled by the individual schools. The article goes on to say that "they [schools] would have to make the policy available to students through a website or school handbook. They would have to let students report bullying anonymously and spell out what steps could be taken with a student who has bullied classmates." The author makes a point to state that tolerance lessons would only be given to students who have bullied others.

I believe the crux of this argument rests upon religion in schools since most of the arguments against homosexuality are based within religious beliefs. How this will end up is a tough call - while student 1st amendment rights are limited in schools, they still have them and forcing students to take a class that goes against their religious beliefs could easily lead to a lawsuit. At the same time, students that are being bullied, whether homosexual or not, also have a right to learn in a peaceful and tolerant atmosphere. While the conservative groups argue that students should have the right to express their beliefs on the immorality of homosexuality, there is a fine line between that and hate speech. I have a feeling that if this bill passes, most schools will approach the anti-bullying lessons with kid gloves and avoid any really controversial statements on homosexuality - but there is always the possibility that some school, intentionally or unintentionally, will step into a morass and this thing could go to the Supreme Court.

Tags: 1st, amendment, homosexuality, news

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