So I haven't really been following this anti-bullying bill business in part because I think such bills are ridiculous. Kids, being kids, are generally mean and ruthless, especially to anyone who sticks out for any reason, and usually the Powers That Be either ignore this kind of thing ("You need to toughen up, kid") or turn it into this self-righteous moral crusade to show that they care about the children.
But I didn't know there was an attempt to add a religious exemption in there too. I get that it's kind of been co-opted as a "gay issue," which I find kind of irksome because this is a human issue and a common decency issue. One of my friends is a social worker at one of the local psych units and told me that "if I was thirteen, and I got picked on in school and then I came home and saw that someone had made a Facebook group making fun of me and all my friends joined and were writing all sorts of bad stuff about me, I'd want to kill myself too."
It's terrible that GLBT kids get picked on, yet they're not the only ones, it's hard to be a minority of any kind in a hostile environment, be it due to religion or language or skin color (or differing tone within that skin color) or just looking different. No amount of legislation is going to change that despite any presumed best intentions. I would hope that teachers and powers that be would have the sense to not enable and encourage (because that does happen so often) but it's hard for me to be so optimistic having dealt with my own share of awful teen years.
But what the hell, people? Especially you religious folk out there who like to talk about how you're persecuted. So it's ok to beat up the gay kid because you've got some "deeply held belief" that their personal choices are wrong? There's a lot of people who have a deeply held belief that you're crazy, does that make it ok to give you a hard time? And what about this whole loving your neighbor business? Jesus said a lot more about loving people even if they treat you like crap or are different than you than anything resembling the implications of what's being advocated. What's in the water up there? Even the most fundie of the people I've met in my short time on earth might have some strange ways of looking at the world, but usually don't tend to advocate being nasty to other kids (usually they just don't put their kids in public school to shelter them from that BIG BAD SECULAR HUMANIST WORLD but that's a whole other story).
The fact that there's debate on who's a protected class and who isn't smacks of handicapping for the Suffering Olympics and really makes me even more cynical about the dumbassery of our elected officials and the education system. And regardless of what your personal beliefs or family structure is, you really should be raising your kids to not be mean to other kids, not that it'll always stop them, but it really does start at home, not thinking your kid is so damn special and right all the time, and being a good example, and not encouraging them to be hateful.
And it seems like grandstanding on all sides, and I wonder what all these people were like when they were teens. Were they the bullies, or the bullies' minions (those who stand by or chime in out of some combination of power and fear of being the next victim), or the kids who just kind of drifted through, or the kids that got picked on and now that they have power, dammit, they're going to use it to get back at the ones lower on the pecking order or the ones above them or maybe there's an idealistic "well maybe if I do this it won't happen to someone else."
But we're a nation of bullies in a world of bullies, overcompensating for the glaring flaws by mocking the flaws of others and doing the geopolitical equivalent of beating them up after school or sending our minions to do it next. It happened in New York the past couple days, and it's been happening in our country since Columbus and all over the world when one group doesn't like another and decides to beat them up and take away what they have, be it dignity or stuff or both. Is that ever going to change? I wish it would, but nothing indicates that it will.