Opposition tactics to bullying bill gets mixed reaction from GOP seniors group

Mimi Anderson
MinnPost photo by Brian HallidayMimi Anderson

Another divisive social issue will be on the agenda for the 2014 session of the Minnesota Legislature — the “safe and supportive schools act,” otherwise known as the bullying bill.

The Minnesota Child Protection League, an ardent opponent of the bill, is lobbying in Republican and conservative Democratic circles to defeat House File 826, which passed this year in the House but stalled in the state Senate.

Republican legislators objected that the bill, which offers a detailed definition of bullying and establishes 19 protected classes of children, was overreaching, expensive and burdensome to school districts.

The Child Protection League agrees with those objections but has others, too.

At a Tuesday meeting of the Republican Seniors of Minnesota in Bloomington, Mimi Anderson, the league’s program director, described the bill as a “disgusting and despicable piece of legislation.”

The Republican senior group appeared to be unified in its opposition to the bill but had a mixed response to Anderson’s message. Some nodded in agreement, but others questioned whether using an anti-gay message was ethically or politically responsible.

Anderson continued: “We just legalized a new definition of marriage and now they have to normalize it. How are they going to normalize it when those of us who have religion …. and are teaching our kids to follow a natural, normal order of things, how are they going to normalize it?

“They are going to have to normalize it through the school system,” she told the group. “That same-sex marriage bill was just the precursor for what they really want. These students will be using a curriculum that is sexually explicit, morally offensive and physically unsafe.

“This is a bureaucratic takeover of indoctrination of our kids through sex education, remedial education and forms of discipline, tearing down the moral fabric of what we’re raising our children to be and become. This is the animal that they couldn’t wait to get out of the cage.”

But not everyone was buying her message.

“Terrible politics” was the opinion of Alan Shilepsky, a 2006 Republican candidate for Congress in the 5th District. Shilepsky, as a board member for the Log Cabin Republicans, had lobbied Republicans to not support the constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.

After listening to Anderson’s remarks, Shilepsky said he, too, believes the bill is a bureaucratic nightmare but that preaching the fears of a gay agenda to defeat it would create a Republican backlash.

“The marriage amendment was the biggest organizing effort to help the Democrats in 10 years. It mobilized them to do many things,” he said. “We’ve built a monster because of our own foolishness.”

Anderson assured the group that the approach of the Child Protection League has bipartisan acceptance. “Whether I’m talking to Democrats or Republicans, parents are outraged,” she said.

She encouraged people to sign up for a Dec. 14 League training session to become part of a “massive movement to stop this bill.”

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/04/2013 - 08:56 am.

    You know what is really disgusting?

    (quote)

    Matthew 22:

    36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    (end quote)

    It’s absolutely disgusting how Jesus did not endorse bullying as a way of enforcing personal beliefs.

    Talk about “undermining” morals.

    • Submitted by Peter Stark on 12/04/2013 - 03:11 pm.

      My new book

      I think I will write a book called “God: Not Conservative Enough?” and make millions.

      Jesus was such a RINO

  2. Submitted by Ralf Wyman on 12/04/2013 - 12:48 pm.

    “those of us who have religion…”

    My faith, my religion and my church community are all very clear: bullying is wrong. Bullying over perceived sexual orientation included.

    If we are to love our neighbors as our selves, this includes same-sex couples, their kids, as well as youth who may be (or be thought by others to be) gay, lesbian, trans, or of a different faith, body type, skin color, learning ability or physical ability, to name a few.

    Anything less than bully-free schools shows a lack of compassion and a lack of ability to see in others the vulnerabilities we each carry within our selves.

    Bullies pick on those vulnerabilities to deny the full human-ness of their targets. A tactic that I think comes across pretty clearly in Ms. Anderson’s presentation described above.

  3. Submitted by jason myron on 12/04/2013 - 03:54 pm.

    Apparently…

    dinosaurs still walk the earth…at least in Bloomington. I love the irony of Ms Anderson’s shrill accusation of same-sex indoctrination in the schools, all while asking people to sign up for a “training session” to fight it. Exactly whom is being indoctrinated here?

  4. Submitted by Wes Davey on 12/05/2013 - 09:08 am.

    The “Minnesota Child Protection League” (MCPL) website (http://mnchildprotectionleague.com/) states they are a group “united in action to protect all children from exploitation, indoctrination and violence.” Sounds good, like it has the best interests of our children at heart…except, of course, for the bullied kid just trying his or her best to make it through another school day.

    The MCPL website then lists seven action items, starting with “Our current project is protecting children from Dayton’s bill, HF826, set to pass in 2014 unless We the People stop it.” I could be mistaken on this, but doesn’t “We the People” include kids being bullied? But they’re a non-voting minority that can be ignored, right MCPL?

    “Bullying is wrong and currently addressed in education statute.” A correct statement, but it neglects a not-so-minor detail: A 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Education rated Minnesota’s anti-bullying law the weakest in the nation.

    “HF826 is an attempt to control our lives through the re-education of our children.” Good grief, if public schools had to take into consideration every parent’s individual beliefs on every subject nothing would get taught in school – no math, no science, no literature, no nothing…and in the end the student’s knowledge would be limited to what their parents were able to teach them.

    “Protect your children! Tell lawmakers to stop the Bullying Bill!” Protect what children – those who bully? What about protecting kids being bullied?

    “We are here to assist parents and families, the first line of defense for their children.” No, your goal is to impose your religious beliefs on everyone. Let’s be honest here, the primary reason MCPL opposes the “Bullying Bill” is because it would protect vulnerable gay kids as well.

    “We are here to protect schools from losing their independence and local authority.” Clearly, as in the case of the Anoka-Hennepin School District, that “independence and authority” hasn’t always worked that well and should be taken away in certain instances.

    “We are here to protect teachers from infringement on their freedoms of conscience and abilities to engage in the work they love, teaching children.” Look, if certain teachers find it a personal conflict of interest to be fair with all kids – including those students being bullied for a variety reasons – they should teach at a private school where their views are welcome, or simply consider going into another line of work.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 12/05/2013 - 01:44 pm.

      Simply

      A very questionable, if not dishonest, name for a group that wants only to “protect” certain children.

    • Submitted by Paul Nye on 01/10/2014 - 08:25 pm.

      missed the point

      Wes, I think you’ve taken the MCPL video out of context. They repeatedly stated that they are against ALL bullying. HF 826 vaguely and narrowly defines bullying – if it does at all. I don’t know if you’ve read the bill or not, but it is over-reaching in its anti-bullying efforts. All of us agree that bullying in ALL forms needs to be addressed and stopped. However, as an educator, I don’t want the state dictating to me what I must teach in a classroom and how. We don’t all live in a metropolitan area, which means smaller districts face challenges that don’t even exist in metro schools. This bill is incredibly restrictive. Seriously, do you agree that a 10-year-old who is accused of causing “emotional distress” to another student should be disciplined without his or her parents notification? Once again, I want to make myself very clear – I witness bullying everyday (actually none of it pertains to sexual orientation), and it needs to stop. Our school is working hard at teaching kindness, respect and love for one another. Notice I didn’t use the word “tolerance.” That’s because the primary definition of tolerance means to “put up with.” I don’t believe any student needs to be “put up with.” They deserve kindness and respect – regardless. THAT needs to be taught. HF826 is far too narrow and will only serve one very small group of kids.

  5. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 12/05/2013 - 04:31 pm.

    No mirrors?

    What kind of awful, disgusting adult would actually condone the bullying of children?

  6. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/06/2013 - 09:04 am.

    A different take

    I think a better headline for this piece would be “Republican group skeptical of homophobic attacks on bill to protect schoolchildren for tactical, rather than moral, reasons.”

    Not as artful, but more accurate.

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