Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The "License to Bully" Bill.

 A few months ago, I wrote a post about a Tennessee student who was attacked by his own principal for wearing a shirt that supported gay rights.  Now, when I think of gay-friendly states, Tennessee is not one of them.  Recent developments in the state's legislature have definitely proved this to be true.  Here's how:

On December 7th, 2011, 18-year-old Jacob Rogers (pictured above) took his life because of how bad the bullying was at his school.  He was, of course, bullied for being gay, and school officials (according to his friends) did absolutely nothing to stop it.  Suicide rates among gay teens - and even misunderstood teens in general - appear to be rising, and many states have passed anti-bullying legislation in order to give their schools more options in how to deal with such behavior.

 Enter the Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) led by David Fowler.  FACT is attempting to use Jacob Rogers' suicide and the attention it gained to the organization's own twisted end; to promote state legislation known as HB 1153.  Straight from the bill's website, "This bill specifies that 'creating a hostile educational environment' would not include discomfort and unpleasantness that can accompany the expression of a viewpoint or belief that is unpopular, not shared by other students, or not shared by teachers or school officialsThis bill clarifies that the policy may not be construed or interpreted to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of students and may not prohibit their expression of religious, philosophical, or political views as long as such expression does not include a threat of physical harm to a student or of damage to a student's property."

In other words, if you believe homosexuality to be a sin, you have every right to bully gay kids at your school provided that you do not threaten physical harm or damage property.  HB 1153 is, without a doubt, the "License to Bully" bill.   

It is sickening to think that David Fowler and FACT endorse anti-gay bullying, particularly against children and young adults.  It is an insult to the memory of Jacob Rogers and every other unfortunate bullying victim, as well as an insult to humanity.  

So let's tell FACT what we think of this piece of legislation.  You can write to them at:
2000 Mallory Lane, Ste. 130-167
Franklin, TN 37067-8231

Or you can give them a call at:
(615) 591-2090

Me?  I did both.  The letter is sitting on my table as I write this, waiting to get put in the mailbox.  Their offices are closed this late at night, but rest assured I will call them bright and early.  I'll update this post with how that conversation goes hopefully by noon on 1/5/12.  It should be a blast.


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