Recently, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced legislation that would "protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in federally funded public elementary and high schools from bullying" by both students and faculty.
The proposed anti-LGBT bullying law, dubbed the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), is modeled after the controversial Title IX and is supported by the ACLU, President Obama, 27 Senators, and 93 members of Congress.
At first glance, there really are not too many faults with this bill. Any institution or organization that receives federal tax money should of course not be able to discriminate, which applies equally to homosexuals in the military. LGBT students do face a tremendous amount of bullying, teasing, and harassment, and should be protected equally under the law.
While the media tends to highlight these incidents, they unfortunately do an anemic job of reporting on the institutionalized bullying and coercing, regardless of sexual orientation, that exists in our country's schools.
To take just a few recent examples, in New Mexico, a kindergarten teacher had some of her boy students beat up 5-year-old Amos Dunmire because he "acted up." The teacher, of course, is still employed. In Arvada, Colorado, an 11-year old boy was "arrested and hauled away in handcuffs" by police for making a stick-figure drawing that was assigned by his psychiatrist.
And in the most tragic case, a 15-year-old student in Fairfax, Virginia, Nick Stuban, was suspended and banned from school property for seven weeks for buying a capsule of the legal "marijuana-like" synthetic compound JWH-08. He was forced into signing a confession before his parents (or a lawyer) were even notified, had to transfer to another school, and eventually committed suicide a month later.
As James Ostrowski recounts in his excellent book Government Schools Are Bad For Your Kids, students are assaulted by teachers and police, forced to take harmful drugs, harassed, and pushed into a stifling conformity of thought and reasoning in government schools.
Gay, straight, white, or black, it doesn't matter; all students are subjected to the systematized rigidity of government schools. In a similar fashion to the structure of prisons, institutionalized (and passively accepted) bullying is a cheap way to keep order and control over the inmates/students and enforce hierarchy. All the while, the parents of these students foot the bill by paying for this through compulsory taxation.
So while it is definitely a positive sign that more light is being shined on the discrimination that many LGBT students face, why add another layer of government edict and bureaucracy to address a problem largely created by government edict and bureaucracy?
Although there have been many instances of individual discrimination, governments have historically been by far the worst abusers of LGBT (and all of our) rights. Here in the U.S., it has been the federal and state governments that have denied gays marriage rights, hospital visits, and are reminded through every income-tax-withheld paycheck just how much the government "protects" their rights.
LGBT students, and non-students alike, deserve equal protection under the law. More federal government involvement into education, no matter how well-intentioned, isn't the answer.
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