By JR on Tuesday, January 24, 2012
A school superintendant has labeled a column in a school newspaper that criticized homosexuality as “bullying.” (The Shawano High School newspaper decided to run dueling student opinion pieces on whether same-sex couples should be able to adopt children; the student article that was labeled as “bullying” answered the question “no.”)
Whatever the wisdom (or lack thereof) of featuring something like that in a school newspaper, it seems strange to argue that a viewpoint in a student newspaper is “bullying.”
A conservative Christian who thought that homosexuality was immoral successfully challenged a school “harassment” code that punished students with such viewpoints in Saxe v. State College Area School District (2001), a case in which a federal appeals court ruled that there is no “harassment” exception to the First Amendment for speech which offends members of minority groups.
But schools and anti-bullying activists have adopted incredibly overbroad definitions of bullying. The anti-bullying website NoBully.com, and schools like Fox Hill and Alvarado Elementary, define even “eye rolling” and other expressions of displeasure or hostility as bullying, even though doing so raises First Amendment problems.
Since “creating web sites” that “make fun of others” also is deemed “cyberbullying,” conservative websites that poke fun at the president are presumably guilty of cyberbullying under this strange definition.