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“Anti-Bullying” bill passes MA Senate -- with major modifications after MassResistance testimony & pressure.

Was being used for radical agendas

April 18, 2008

Last week the Massachusetts Senate overwhelmingly passed a school “anti-bullying” bill. It will probably be sent to the House very soon. The bill was a re-write of several other “anti-bullying” bills which were introduced last year.  

Confronting a not-so-hidden agenda

The original bills included H587, the most prominent one, and also H540, H454, H453, S275.

Early on, MassResistance recognized the language of the bills as a way for homoexual groups to hijack school “bullying” concerns to push a “hate crimes”/homoexual agenda into schools. Then, last spring the homosexual group MassEquality announced that passing H587 was one of its goals for this legislative session. Other gay groups also began lobbying for it.

Fighting back

As the public hearing for the bills approached, MassResistance published a report describing the dangers of these bills, including several informative blog entries where this was coming from and exposing the homosexual groups working behind the scenes.

READ our MassResistance report
- with links to the blog entries.

Then at the May 1, 2007 public hearing before the Joint Education Committee, MassResistance presented hard-hitting testimony. We laid out what this was really about, what it would do, and who was pushing it – and let the committee know that parents around the state would fight it.

The committee backed down and put all the bills into a study. But key members still wanted to address the “anti-bullying” issue.

New bill written

So over several months they re-wrote it into a new bill, S2367.  A far as we can see, this new bill appears to fix the language to effectively shut out homoesexual and “hate crimes” agendas and activism.  As the definition in S2367 reads:

“Bullying,” any unwelcome written or verbal expressions, physical acts or gestures directed at a student or another member of the school community to intimidate, frighten, ridicule, humiliate, or cause physical or emotional harm to that person, and where the conduct is not related to the person’s membership in a legally protected class and is not considered harassment under federal or state laws.  Bullying may include, but is not limited to, repeated taunting, threats of harm, verbal or physical intimidation; cyber-bullying through e-mails, cell phones, instant messages, text messages, or websites; and pushing, kicking, hitting, spitting, or taking or damaging another person’s personal property.

Thus, it seems to address individual acts – the generally accepted idea of bullying, and not open the door for ideological agendas to hijack it.

But is an “anti-bullying” bill a good idea?

Maybe.  The concept of cyber-bullying – using the Internet and various electronic devices to harass and intimidate – ought to be addressed. And horrible behavior of kids to each other seems to be more prevalent these days.

On one hand, passing a law is another heavy-handed intrusion by the State Legislature into an issue that one would think ought to be handled by school districts or the Department of Education. It mandates reports, official statements, procedures and even training by schools across the state.

Here’s what the Boston Herald published on its editorial page two days after the public hearing. At the time we certainly agreed.

Help needed for parents and kids.

But on the other hand, this can be used to parents’ advantage because protection is needed. A lot of the “bullying” that takes place is by homosexual activists and nasty liberals against those who don’t agree with their various agendas in the school. The intimidation by both adults and other students can be horrific. We’ve seen it up close; it’s not pretty. Kids who speak up with a traditional opinion are cruelly abused and harassed.

The homosexual activists – both in and out of the schools – can be particularly aggressive against kids. Our recent report, “Homosexual activists violate special-needs student, daughter of MassResistance staffer” documents what happened at Acton-Boxborough High School, that ended up including homosexual activists from Boston who drew many students into bullying a family online. 

Something is definitely needed. Maybe this bill will help with that, now that it appears to be aimed in the right direction.

What happens now?

Here’s what the State House News reported on April 14, 2008, when it passed the Senate:


Drowned out by the late-night tax debate in the House, the Senate on Thursday approved a bill aimed at monitoring and stemming bullying in schools. The bill (S 2637) was amended to include a definition for “cyber-bullying,” which it describes as “bullying by means including electronic mails, cellular phones, instant messages, text messages or websites.” In defending the bill on the Senate floor, Sen. Robert Antonioni, co-chair of the Committee on Education, said modern bullies use text messages and social networking sites like Facebook to torment their classmates. The bill would require every school district and charter school in Massachusetts to develop a bullying prevention and intervention plan that would be updated every other year. The plan would have to include disciplinary measures for students caught bullying, and every school superintendent would have to name a school staffer to implement the anti-bullying program. Bullying itself is defined in the bill as “any unwelcome written or verbal expressions, physical acts or gestures directed at a student or another member of the school community with the intent to intimidate, frighten, ridicule, humiliate, or cause physical or emotional harm to that person.” The bill now heads to the House where lead sponsor Rep. Paul Donato (D-Medford) says he will fight to get the bill a full debate on the House floor. “Bullying is a major issue in schools, whether it be on the bus, in the classroom, in the corridors, and the interesting thing is, on the internet,” he said. “We’re seeing more and more bullying on the internet itself. Am I encouraged that it’s on its way over to the House? Absolutely.”

The House may take it up, or it may take the Herald’s approach and decide it represents too much micro-managing. We'll see.