GOP legislators cite many objections, but anti-bullying bill finally passes Senate

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Supporters of the anti-bullying bill rallied outside the Senate chamber on Thursday.

Passing an anti-bullying measure in Minnesota wasn’t easy.

In 2009, a bill did make it through the Legislature, only to be vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Last year, an anti-bullying bill was passed in the House but died on the floor of the Senate in the final hours of the session.

And Thursday, Republican senators did everything they could to at least slow down passage of the bill. For five hours, Republicans tossed amendment after amendment at the bill. The vast majority of those amendments failed on party-line votes.

Finally, though, the bill, which had gone through 11 legislative committees, came to the floor and was passed on a 36-31 vote.  No Republicans supported the bill.

Because this essentially was the bill passed by the House last session, it will be returned to the House. which is expected to quickly pass the bill and move it on to the governor, who has said he’ll sign it.

The political process that Sen. Scott Dibble described as “a long journey” is nearly over. Dibble, point person on this issue, has taken every step of the journey.

Some surprises

There were a few surprises on this day.

The biggest surprise was that despite a dramatic call to action by organizations opposing the bill, few foes showed up at the Capitol.

“A lot of us conservatives work,” said  Linda Stanton, one of the few foes of the bill standing outside the chamber.

Stanton admitted that she was disappointed that after such a long battle, so few foes could had come to St. Paul for a last stand.

“Maybe it’s fatigue,” she said. “Maybe a lot of people stayed home to pray.”

That comment about prayer represented an undercurrent of this debate. Perhaps because the bill had been pushed by, among others, LBGT groups, there is some sense among fundamentalist Christians that the bill will be used to push LBGT values down the throats of the children of the fundamentalists.

“If a child gets reported for bullying,” Stanton said, “he could be remediated with values the parents don’t agree with.”

Indeed, what makes this bill unique is its focus on school districts coming up with a “remedial response to correct prohibited conduct.”

Throughout the day, Dibble attempted to calm Republicans.

“This bill is focused on changing behaviors,” he said. “….Preventing bullying in the first place is the most important portion of this bill….No new rights are being created in this bill. This is a solid, mainstream bill.”

Future campaign issue

But Republican senators were having no part of such talk. Opposition to the bill is clearly going to be a part of the GOP campaigns next fall.

What’s wrong with the bill?

It seemed that every Republican senator had a laundry list of problems.

Some of their issues were surprising. For example, Sen. Dave Senjem of Rochester is concerned that the bullying measure will be used to stop football players from tackling hard, or hockey players from checking or volleyball players from spiking.

Most of the concerns were more conventional. Too much bureaucracy, too much money, not enough parental involvement.

Though parents — and parental training — are part of the bill, some GOP senators seem to believe school officials should immediately call parents if there are hints of bullying issues surrounding their children.

“Who has the authority of these children?” asked Sen. Dan Hall, R-Lakeville. “The parents should ALWAYS know. . . .This bill is saying it’s not the parents in charge now, we (legislators) are in charge.”

Hall wasn’t buying the idea that in cases of older kids, it’s not always such a good idea to make a first call to parents.

Other GOP senators, such as Eric Pratt, R-Lakeville, seemed concerned that kids involved on either side of the bullying line might get hooked up with “social workers….I’m concerned about social workers.”

The problem with social workers is that they are a part of government and this bill is laced with government intrusion, according to the Republicans.

The bullying issue should be dealt with by local school boards and local school administrators instead of “bureaucrats in St. Paul.”

“In this bill, it’s implicit that you don’t trust local administrators or parents or schools,” said Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa. “The greatest problem with this bill is our arrogance….”

Every once in awhile, a DFLer would offer a sobering thought; a reminder of why the bill was on the floor in the first place.  

Bullying studies

For example, late in the afternoon, Sen. Alice Johnson, a DFLer from Spring Lake Park, rose briefly and cited a few statistics.

“Studies show that one in seven children a year say they are bullied,” she said. “That’s 100,000 children a year. Bullied. It’s time for us to act.”

At a few other points, DFLers noted that bullied kids have committed suicide.

The DFLers in the House and Senate are not alone in support of this bill, which Republicans say is an unfunded mandate that will cost school districts $19 million annually.

The Minnesota Elementary School Principals Association, the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals, Association of Metropolitan School Districts, Minnesota Association of School Administrators, Minnesota PTA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Minnesota Social Workers Association, Minneapolis Public Schools and Education Minnesota were among a long list of organizations supporting the bill.

And in the hallway, outside the Senate chamber, there were a few dozen mostly young people who waited and waited and finally cheered when the vote was tallied.

Among those who had come to the capitol to support the bill was Kyrstin Schuette, who graduated from an online high school in 2011 after she felt totally isolated in the halls of Anoka High School after being outed.

Schuette  was among six students involved in a federal lawsuit against the Anoka-Hennepin School District, claiming that the district was failing to provide a safe environment for LGBT students. The students won the suit.

Schuette said she was at the Capitol a year ago when legalization of gay marriage was passed. On that day, the Capitol was packed, mostly with supporters.

Thursday, there were only a few people. But a small turnout doesn’t diminish the importance of the event, Schuette said.

“I feel like in many ways this is a bigger issue,” Schuette said. “If students can’t go to school and be safe, there’s something very wrong. This is a big day.”

For the latest bill status and text, see the Minnesota Revisor of Statutes.

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Comments (102)

  1. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 04/04/2014 - 09:38 am.

    Great Coverage

    This article is one of the reasons that MinnPost is such a valuable part of our community. Rather than simply providing one quote from each side and calling it balanced coverage like other Twin Cities outlets did, it actually presents enough information and perspective to allow readers to evaluate the issue.

    Thank you!

    • Submitted by Jim Halonen on 04/04/2014 - 12:13 pm.

      Almost a party-line vote

      What would further allow readers to evaluate this issue is to make mention that a few DFL’ers voted with the GOP on this bill, and maybe get some quotes from them.

  2. Submitted by mark wallek on 04/04/2014 - 10:09 am.

    More work for teachers

    When I wonder, are we going to start asking parents to actually parent their children? We cannot have teachers assuming even more of the burden of parenting than they already do, because what share they have now is too much. In the protection of our illusory american “freedoms” we’ve taken a hands off approach to the general failure to parent. Issues of bullying today are no different than what children faced in school 50 years ago. What is different is the involvement, or lack thereof, of the parent/s. We have accepted a level of dysfunction that is in fact not acceptable. The consequence of not accepting this dysfunctional parenting means that toes might get stepped on, and in free america we cannot have that. And so the deterioration continues.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/04/2014 - 10:17 am.

    What Are Our “Conservative” Friends Concerned About?

    I suspect that, after many, many years of having their own biases and occasional bigotry rule the halls of their local public schools (if not always the classrooms), their children,…

    who will still be perfectly free to believe whatever they’ve been taught to believe,…

    will now have to treat others who have different beliefs with tolerance and equanimity,…

    the danger being, of course, that if the schools don’t support and enforce the biases of the “conservative” side of the community, the kids being raised with those “conservative” attitudes will come to question them in ways that parents/churches/clergy do not want to try to counter,…

    such efforts requiring, as they do, that those parents, churches, and clergy actually go to the trouble of researching and carefully evaluating what lies beneath and behind what they, themselves, were taught growing up,…

    and actually requiring them to decide, themselves, whether they still believe those things or not.

    In other words, countering the disagreements their children may encounter at school may be threatening to the never-deeply-considered, unquestioned Sunday School faith of those parents, churches and clergy.

    It is because of the fear of their OWN faith (and societal) questions, and the fear that they, themselves, will not be able to come up with responses, reasonable and convincing enough to counter the questions their children face that these parents are so afraid of the end of their children being allowed to bully others into agreement or silence, “because I said so,” being, in the end, insufficient reason for adolescents to agree with their parents or adhere to the faith they’ve been taught.

    I expect that these fears of having to answer their children’s questions about what parents/churches/clergy are teaching those children about faith and society will cause an increase in home schooling and religiously-based private schools,…

    the parents and leaders lacking the courage to examine their won faiths and attitudes in ways sufficient to equip them to deal with those who would cause their own children to raise uncomfortable questions regarding that faith and those attitudes, preferring, instead, to seperate their children from those who might ask such questions,…

    not for the benefit of those children, but to avoid causing discomfort in their parent’s and clergy.

    • Submitted by Jeffrey Bonderman on 04/05/2014 - 10:10 am.

      Conservatives are not against anti-bullying

      Just a quick answer to your question of what are conservatives afraid of. Conservatives are not against anti-bullying but they are against taking the rights away in the process which seems to be a common occurrence with Liberals. Liberals use a subject like bullying to go further on their agenda such as Gun control, abortions etc. Conservatives are not afraid of answering their children’s questions. So what you are saying is that our children have the freedom to believe whatever they want. Sorry but what a stupid comment. So if our children believe that a boy going into a girls restroom is alright then as a parent we are not supposed to explain to them that the natural law of nature says that is wrong? Children’s brains are not fully developed when young but they are fully receptive to the immoral impact of the world today. There is nothing wrong with parents teaching their children the truth that God teaches on issues such as homosexuality. That is not bullying. Teaching their children to make fun of, push, make rude remarks or call those homosexuals names is bullying. Only an idiot would believe that a child has the right to believe what they want to believe. So what you are saying is that a child doesn’t have the right to believe that an issue like homosexuality is wrong but they have the right to believe that homosexuality is ok? What people like you are afraid of is that there are conservative parents like me that teach my children biblical principles and that they need to live their own lives based on those biblical principles. I also teach my children to stand up for other people even if the person they are protecting is different them they are such as someone that is a homosexual. The challenge is that people like you think that you have the right to tell my children differently but I don’t have the right to protect my children from people like you with immoral thinking. Here is a true example that happened to my son. A few years ago my son saw a boy that was a couple years older than him pushing a boy younger than my son down on the ground and pushing the boy against the rough cement of the building repeatedly. My son stepped in and pushed the bully away. My son didn’t push the bully down or beat him up, all my son did was separate the bully and the victim. The school tried to punish my son with the same punishment that the bully was going to receive. You see Greg Liberals like you believe the bully has the right to be a bully. Liberal like you believe that children like my son don’t have the right to stand up for the victim because if they show any physical actions towards the bully. You see Greg the challenge is that Liberal like you feel you have the right to inflict immoral beliefs on our children just because you feel other people have the right to be immoral. You believe that schools have the right to infringe on the privacy of a family. You feel that American freedoms like the freedom to raise our children in a Godly moral standard is wrong because someone calls that bullying. Sorry but that is just wrong. Now bullying is wrong no matter what. You are posting a form of bullying by accusing conservative’s of thinking differently than you believe. We are supposed to have the freedom to believe the way we choose, raise our children the way we choose and teach our children the way we choose. We just don’t have the right to tell our children to be mean verbally or physically against someone that is different than they are. I don’t agree with you but that doesn’t mean that I think you are a bad person. I just disagree with you. I guarantee that if for some reason you were being attacked and I was next to you that I would protect you no matter what. You have the right to believe the way you want and I have the right to believe that way I want as long as we find a way to get along. That is what America was founded on.

      • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 04/06/2014 - 04:07 pm.

        Boring rant

        Once you start using the word “liberal” as a pejorative, instead of just talking about the issues, you lose me — and likely a lot of others. Your kid doesn’t have the right to mistreat any others, any more than other adults have the right to mistreat you. Period. There, now was that so hard?

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/06/2014 - 11:55 pm.

        Just a point of clarity

        But did you honestly just say its OK to force your children to believe exactly as you do? Sheesh, kinda takes away the whole free will portion of Christianity wouldn’t you say? Thank goodness my parents had the faith in me to allow me to become my own person, not some construct of whom they thought I should.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/07/2014 - 03:35 pm.

        Makes Sense to Me

        I think Matt missed the point, maybe he doesn’t have kids yet.

        “What people like you are afraid of is that there are conservative parents like me that teach my children biblical principles and that they need to live their own lives based on those biblical principles. ”

        “We are supposed to have the freedom to believe the way we choose, raise our children the way we choose and teach our children the way we choose.”

        I don’t see anything in this that says Conservatives insist their adult offspring believe one way or another. I do see that Parents want to influence their children to behave correctly while they are children. Seems like a good idea to me, they tend to develop a mind of their own quick enough.

        These folks are definitely for freedom of beliefs and behaviors as long as you agree with them.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/07/2014 - 05:36 pm.

          No point missed John

          My boys are doing great, thanks! Influencing behavior is fine, I certainly hope my kids will inherit some of my belief structure, the difference comes later when they may decide to embark on their own path that may contrast greatly with my own. Perhaps I am taking a few liberties but I would surmise that the poster we are opining on might not be so willing to let his children stray, lest consequences be doled out. I have plenty of personal experience with friends and extended family members being effectively exiled from families over differing beliefs. Surely you don’t suggest that as appropriate? I hesitate to use the term brainwashing, as its not particularly pleasant, but indoctrination of one’s offspring, at least in the manner you suggest is no less off putting to me.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/07/2014 - 09:05 pm.

            Parent’s Perogative

            That is truly the Parent’s prerogative, unless now you are going to say that you know best how to raise someone else’s kids. I am certain you are indoctrinating certain beliefs into your child. Likely ideas and beliefs that you feel are important, like believing that religious conservatives are ???, rich people are ???, people who question global warming are ???, etc.

            As Jeffrey said above…”I also teach my children to stand up for other people even if the person they are protecting is different them they are such as someone that is a homosexual.”

            Seems like he is on the right track.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/07/2014 - 10:02 pm.

              No not at all actually

              About the only moral imperative I try to impart is to be nice and treat all others with respect, until they give you reason to act differently. As to the value assessments regarding politics and societal issues, 1. My oldest is 3, I don’t think he really cares, 2. When he, and his brother, are they are welcome to ask me whatever they like about whatever they wish. However it will be up to THEM to decide whether they think I’m right, full of it, or somewhere in between. It will be up toTHEM to research a topic to learn all the sides of an issue, and create their own opinions on the world in which they live. Why should I try to pigeonhole their future by expecting them to act as I would in every circumstance? How arrogant is that? This is how my parents raised me, if it ain’t broke why fix it.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/07/2014 - 10:18 pm.

              Secondly

              I’d like to give Jeffrey the benefit of the doubt on what he teaches his children. However, as I’m sure you’re aware, a quick perusal of virtually any nationally published article, that in any way mentions homosexuality, in any capacity, has a comment section (if its even allowed) filled with the products of his type of parental demagoguery. The fever swamp of hate has a source, it doesn’t just spring forth from whole cloth. While it may be his prerogative to raise his children as he sees fit, I am well within my rights to criticize what I believe the outcome of that decision to be. Perhaps if he (and those like him) were as focused on ensuring that a safe environment for all people was a normal everyday occurrence, regardless of what it means or doesn’t mean to him personally, and as he is on ensuring that his religious dogma is propagated in the next generation, measures such as the bill in question wouldnt be needed.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/08/2014 - 02:31 pm.

                Or maybe if more Parents and their kids made it to church regularly, we wouldn’t choose to implement this unnecessary law. I mean they would learn to love their neighbors, even the sinners.

                “Need” seems like a stretch since I am pretty sure the local school districts already worked to keep their students safe. I am really unsure how this going to help them accomplish that goal.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/08/2014 - 07:29 pm.

                  Sure

                  If you wish to believe that tired canard. Frankly whether or not one says they love anyone is rather irrelevant when their actions prove otherwise, that however is a discussion that should be left for a commentary of a more topical article, we’ve wandered pretty far afield as it is. I could however say the reverse would be true, without religion telling its followers that certain others’ behavior is”sinful” laws such as these might be less needed.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/09/2014 - 09:33 pm.

                    Where is Your Line?

                    Heterosexual Relationships
                    Homosexual Relationships
                    Swinger/Open Relationships
                    Polygamy Relationships
                    Polyandry Relationships
                    Incest Relationships

                    Most humans find some behavior unacceptable.
                    Even if it is between consenting adults.
                    Or will you tell your children all of the above are acceptable.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/10/2014 - 06:32 am.

                      Easy again

                      Wait you forgot beastiality in your little list didn’t you? As far as what you did list goes, all but the last would be fine, as long as true consent is involved, the counter example being something like parentally arranged polygamy involving minor children (interestingly a usually religious phenomenon). Incest prohibition has a biological basis, and would still be rightly excluded, though I could see a challenge if folks were willing to be sterilized. None of it would affect you or I in the slightest of course, unless you have something you’d like to share? Why again should I be afraid of my children recognizing the complexity of human relationships? In my 35 years I’ve yet to meet anyone who would classify themselves as desirous of any of the arrangements on your list, I don’t expect I will in the next 35, so while I recognize your need to use it as the “slippery slope” bogeyman, I really don’t think its as shocking to those outside your sphere as you think it is. Maybe these folks travel in your circles, they really don’t in mine.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/10/2014 - 07:55 am.

                      Interesting

                      I don’t state this as a “slippery slope” argument, but as a continuum. Different folks believe different things. I personally don’t want to force people to accept/confront my beliefs in a public organization. That would make me no better than them.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/10/2014 - 10:04 am.

                      Back at you

                      Heterosexual Relationships – is it between consenting, informed adults? Knock yourself out.

                      Homosexual Relationships – is it between consenting, informed adults? Knock yourself out.

                      Swinger/Open Relationships – is it between consenting, informed adults? Knock yourself out.

                      Polygamy Relationships – is it between two consenting, informed adults? Knock yourself out.

                      Polyandry Relationships – is it between two consenting, informed adults? Knock yourself out.

                      Incest Relationships – depends on the degrees of distance in the family. Socially taboo, yet variously legal in many American States. Can produce offspring with congenital disorders depending on the degree of distance between the biological parents. Should probably be judged on the merits of each instance, and often regarded as a victimless crime, if its between two consenting, informed adults.

                      I won’t make assumptions as to what relationships you’ve told your children are acceptable. Where is YOUR line?

                • Submitted by jason myron on 04/08/2014 - 10:54 pm.

                  Yes…that’s it

                  people just need to go to church more often and everything would be hunky dory. Give my regards to Ward, June, Wally and the Beav…

  4. Submitted by Jeff Kline on 04/04/2014 - 01:07 pm.

    Well; who didn’t see this coming.

    Home schooling now is the rule. You will soon see many pulling their kids out of public schools in favor of home schooling. This of course won’t be missed out with “tit for tat”. The communist legislators will retaliate with legislation mandating this garbage be handled in home schooling too….. Just watch.

    • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 04/04/2014 - 02:31 pm.

      right-wing immunity to reason

      Um, there are no communists in the state legislature. Where’s your evidence that there are?

      You seem to be mistaking non-conservatives, centrists, and those with a liberal bent as somehow being communist. Do even understand what communism is?

    • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 04/04/2014 - 03:37 pm.

      Home schooling

      The kind of parents who would pull their kids out of school over an anti-bullying measure are not likely to be very good teachers. Their “home-schooled” kids will be lucky to get manual labor jobs.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/07/2014 - 03:39 pm.

        Actually

        Though it isn’t for my family, the home schooled kids I have met are pretty well adjusted and smart. It is amazing how well kids can do when their Parents care about their beliefs and education. And put the children before their personal wants.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/08/2014 - 09:57 am.

          Oh come on

          He very obviously wasn’t referring to all home-schooled children, he was referring to those who would home-school their children as a protest over a bullying bill that protects LGBT youth, among other groups.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/08/2014 - 02:46 pm.

            Most I have met

            Most of the home schoolers I know are Christian Religious Conservatives. That is part of why they home school. Their kids come first and they want to have better control over the crowds their kids associate with.

            It was amazing the words and concepts my little girls learned on the Public School bus. Probably not good role models for their tender brains and emotions… However it gave me an opportunity to discuss some interesting topics very early in their life…

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/09/2014 - 09:47 am.

              So what?

              I don’t want the curriculum in the school I send my children to, to be dictated by religious dogma. If the hyper-religious DO want their children taught in that vein, so be it. The ‘Christian Religious Conservatives’ you speak of would probably be pulling their kids from public school anyways, as is their prerogative.

              I would say, that the reason I would not homeschool my children would be because I put their education, socialization, and future first. I want them taught math, science, history, and health by trained and dedicated professionals. It’s not implicit that by doing so, I’ve abdicated any parental responsibility.

              Also, I think it’s responsible to teach your child how to live and co-exist in an egalitarian society with people that are different from them, rather than how to eschew it… which is what is implied by this religious homeschooling you speak of.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/09/2014 - 03:35 pm.

                Everythings Relative…

                I have kept my kids in pretty diverse and disruptive schools. I am not sure there was a real upside. I mean besides the language, sex talk, peer pressure, etc, they learn to avoid certain hallways, they get to observe fights, in some classes they get to observe an EBD child or a troubled child disrupting the instruction, get to watch the drug sniffing dogs, get to observe peers getting arrested, etc….

                I likely would have done things differently if I knew what I know now. But I am ~5 years from being an empty nester.

                I do value that the girls got to intermix with many different groups, unfortunately watching the gang kids, druggies and others may have actually supported cementing some stereotypes for them. And the reality is it is unlikely they will mixing with those groups as adults. They will go to college, get a job, etc. Not too many disturbances or political incorrectness like that in the typical office.

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/10/2014 - 09:51 am.

                  Disruptive does NOT equal Diverse

                  I went to a private, very affluent (and primarily white) high school, where I also heard (and let’s be fair, used) offensive language, there was plenty of sex talk (have you met any teenagers?), plenty of peer pressure to do all sorts of things (again, have you met any teenagers?). Students got pregnant, kids would get in fights, angry kids would disrupt classes, I watched a student get arrested, AND there were several students who had serious drug problems that required some sort of institutionalization or expulsion. At the same time, I still had friends from my old public school, who all experienced the same basic things I did, just on a larger scale, as their school had 10 times as many students. Despite all this, most of those same students who had those behavioral problems ended up being highly productive members of adult society, because they were constantly engaged by their teachers and peers. I still talk to most of them, even. My long-winded point being: These experiences help prepare you for the real world, and they happen whenever teenagers are around, regardless of WHERE they are (public school, private school, parochial school, the mall, etc etc etc).

                  The world doesn’t end where your life experiences do, and neither does anyone else’s. If you want to accept stereotypes, all you have to do is never engage with anyone different from yourself.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/10/2014 - 12:45 pm.

                    The Experiences Make The Man

                    “These experiences help prepare you for the real world, and they happen whenever teenagers are around, regardless of WHERE they are (public school, private school, parochial school, the mall, etc etc etc).”

                    You are starting to sound like the folks who say that being bullied builds character and helps a child to develop. The question for Parent’s is how much exposure is too much. And which exposures help the child develop in a positive way. It is a balancing act…

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/10/2014 - 02:03 pm.

                      A bizarre extrapolation

                      I don’t quite see how you take my statements as saying that ‘bullying builds character.’ Yes, a person is shaped by that which they experience in life, and yes, relentless bullying can alter a person in profound ways. A person can take a negative experience and try to make something positive out of it, but how well they are able to do that depends in large part on the support system that surrounds them (friends, peers, teachers, parents). Strengthening that system can help a troubled teen get through those rough, rough years.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/10/2014 - 08:01 pm.

                      Easy

                      “Students got pregnant, kids would get in fights, angry kids would disrupt classes, I watched a student get arrested, AND there were several students who had serious drug problems that required some sort of institutionalization or expulsion.”

                      “These experiences help prepare you for the real world, and they happen whenever teenagers are around, regardless of WHERE they are “

                    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/10/2014 - 11:07 pm.

                      Mr. Appelen, you really seem to be hung up on the “gay” aspect

                      Do you really think that homosexual orientation is “catching” and that your children might “turn gay” just because a teacher tells them that it’s not a horrible demonic sin, so awful that some Christians are absolutely obsessed with it? Do you really believe that gay and lesbian youth are just being rebellious in the same way as the kid who smokes in the school bathroom or goes around with purple dreadlocks and piercings in odd places? Do you really believe that people choose to be gay or can be “recruited”?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/11/2014 - 12:04 pm.

                      Point of Contention…

                      I think it is worth looking at it from different perspectives.

                      The Religious Right and the LGBT supporters seem to find this aspect important.

                      Personally I am only concerned about the “social media” / liability aspects of the law.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/07/2014 - 03:40 pm.

        In fact

        If more Parents would do this we probably wouldn’t need this invasive, expensive and hard to conform with law.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/04/2014 - 03:46 pm.

      If it removes more potential gay bashers

      out of the school system, go ahead and home school. Be sure to get back to us on how these home schooled kids fare when they’re thrown back out into the real world where they have to get along with all kinds of people in the workplace that don’t fit into their home-taught, narrow world view. Kudos on working the word “communist” into your rant…it’s always a delight.

    • Submitted by Chris Farmer-Lies on 04/07/2014 - 11:39 am.

      Bye.

  5. Submitted by Penny Pergament on 04/04/2014 - 01:15 pm.

    In favor or bullying

    It would seem that the conservatives are in favor of prayer and bullying. How sad that they spend their time ensuring that children will have to continue to be concerned with the possibility of being bullied.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/04/2014 - 02:01 pm.

      Nonsense

      Conservatives are concerned that in a law that should protect ALL children, if any law could ever really do that, specific demographics were called out as if to identify who was worthy of protection and who wasn’t.

      One could argue that the idea of equal protection under the law was ignored by the democrats and their special interests.

      My personal opposition to such a law is that it simply furthers the wimpification of this society and marginalizes the American idea of self-reliance, standing up for yourself, and not always looking to government to protect you … foreign concepts to most in this society, I know.

      • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 04/04/2014 - 02:29 pm.

        Of course you’re right.

        Bullying is a very valuable experience that teaches our young people how to survive in the real world. Those who survive are stronger for it.

        Those who don’t…well…I guess they’re just collateral damage in Conservatives’ race to the bottom.

        • Submitted by mike schoonover on 04/06/2014 - 07:46 pm.

          damage?

          if by the time you reach adulthood if you haven’t dealt with your childhood issues in a healthy way,
          there is no law on earth that can help you.
          respectfully submitted,
          mike

      • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 04/04/2014 - 02:37 pm.

        Reading the bill helps

        Mr. Tester, did you even bother reading the bill? Here’s the URL to help you out:
        https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF0783&session=ls88&version=latest&session_number=0&session_year=2013

        You’re parroting a right-wing urban legend–the claim that the bill is only for LGBTQ youth. Here’s some key text you may want to know about.

        “Harassment” means intimidating or abusive behavior toward an individual based
        4.25on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, national origin, immigration
        4.26status, sex, age, marital status, familial status, socioeconomic status, physical appearance,
        4.27sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, academic status, disability, or status
        4.28with regard to public assistance, age, or any additional characteristic defined in chapter
        4.29363A that creates a hostile environment by materially interfering with or denying a student
        4.30or other individual the ability to participate in or receive a benefit, service, or opportunity
        4.31in a district or school program.

      • Submitted by Marc Post on 04/04/2014 - 02:38 pm.

        More nonsense

        1. The law DOES protect ALL children.

        2. If one wishes to argue the equal protection issue, then one should provide a point or some sort of evidence. Where is yours?

        3. It is, and always has been, the fundamental purpose of government to protect its citizens. Wimpification? That’s typical bully talk.

        • Submitted by mike schoonover on 04/08/2014 - 11:20 am.

          justice for some?

          the law does not protect all children.
          who is going to defend those that are falsely accused?
          you better believe there will be a lot of crying wolf going on because,
          “boys will be boys”

      • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/04/2014 - 03:00 pm.

        Rugged Individualism, Stand Up for Yourself…

        Leads to only one outcome:

        ONE individual or small group of rulers left standing,…

        everything and everyone else destroyed, which, of course means the one(s) left standing do not long survive, either.

        It is the nature of us humans that those whose dysfunctions force them to do whatever it takes to claw their way to the top of the heap are left, by those same dysfunctions, without the ability to experience or express empathy and compassion,…

        and are, thus, simply incapable of considering the effects the actions they’ve taken in their clawing their way to the top of the heap have on other people or the planet, itself,…

        but are also left, by the those same dysfunctions, without the ability to EVER feel as if they’ve MADE IT, or as if they have ENOUGH. Thus, their destructive tendencies have no braking mechanism, but continue forward to extinction, like a species newly arrived on an uninhabited island whose growth rapidly outstrips available food sources.

        We humans have the ability to rise above such animalistic behavior, but It is only through cooperation and interdependency that a society which will survive, long term can be built. “Rugged individualism” inevitably leads only to destruction of society, it’s people, and the planet.

      • Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 04/04/2014 - 03:39 pm.

        self-reliance

        Yeah, let’s can the anti-bullying legislation and instead favor all students being able to bring loaded guns to school. “Stand your ground” is popular with ‘conservatives’ anyway so they shouldn’t object. Bully a kid, die for it. That’s the American way, by cracky.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 04/04/2014 - 03:51 pm.

        Nah…

        just because we used to mix it up after school to settle our differences doesn’t make it prudent in 2014. It’s a different world now, and a better one. The true wimps are the ones that can’t figure out how to use what’s between their ears to settle disputes. Your idea of “standing up for yourself” is nothing but an excuse to pick on weaker kids based on your religious views. It’s a neanderthal mindset that belongs in the tarpits to be mocked and forgotten.

  6. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 04/04/2014 - 02:26 pm.

    Irrational conservatism

    The bill isn’t even law yet, but conservative myth-making and hysteria are already well underway. Scan various websites and you’ll discover assertions of the most misinformed, fearful, and reactionary kind.

    -One of the most misguided is the view that because bullying has existed in the past, we therefore can’t do anything about it. I read one comment claiming that bullying can serve a helpful developmental purpose. The evidence is overwhelming that bullying isn’t helpful to the great majority of children. But, we’re not dealing with people for whom evidence plays a large role in judgment.

    -There’s the predictable panic from some religious conservatives who have twisted this anti-bullying bill into the mirror of their paranoia and intolerance. In their minds the bill isn’t really about bullying at all, but is part of a gay/liberal/“Marxist” conspiracy to brainwash their kids.

    -One commenter bizarrely claimed that this bill spells the end of free speech.

    -Many commentators seem to know in advance that the bill will either have no effect at all, or will make things worse. They never cite any evidence to back up their views. But because the bill makes them feel uncomfortable and they’ve heard that scary gay people are behind it, they “know” it won’t work.

    -There are statements like the following (from the Star Tribune’s comment section, if I’m not mistaken) that reveal fundamental misunderstandings of what government does: “This is what our state legislature worries about? Seriously, there has to be more pressing issues in our state than somebody getting picked on.” It’s an open question as to whether the commentator knows anything else about what this legislative session has focused on. On its face the comment contains no awareness that bullying is associated with increased high school drop out rates, decreased mental health, and drug use. When parents are unable to effectively address this problem, doesn’t the state have some interest in doing something about it?

    -Another commentator (from the Pioneer Press website): “..so why were students at the capitol instead of in school? Why are politicians/teachers using children as political objects? Let kids be kids!” It’s possibly never occurred to this person that using one’s voice to make change, and learning about how our society works from the perspective of law at the state capitol, has educational value. It’s also bizarre to think that there’s any contradiction between being under 18 and having concerns about how bullying is treated in the very setting where they are supposedly just being “kids”! Plus, there’s the claim that these young people are being used as “political objects,” when it’s pretty obvious that you don’t have to be over 18 to be concerned about the state of the world.

    Read the bill, study the issue. This anti-bullying bill could hardly be more mundane or uncontroversial. In a naive way you’d think that there could hardly be any opposition to it. Nevertheless, many conservatives are up in arms about it. And when you read public comment on it, it’s apparent that non-rational reaction explains the vast majority of opposition.

    • Submitted by mike schoonover on 04/07/2014 - 07:44 pm.

      thank you

      from your first to last point you high lighted every thing liberals do to obfuscate there
      non-tolerant views on every one else.
      1.there will always be bullying.children wont do it if adults are around.so there fore lets pass an unenforceable law that will just tie up an over burdened system so some ones feelings wont get hurt.
      2.the religious right has every right to be concerned because of the liberal paranoia and
      intolerance that would support such a bill.so i say liberal Marxist conspiracy ,you say
      conservative capitalist dogma.those two arguments cancel each other out.
      3.it kills free speech because it is thought crime.
      4. i am 58 years old.i have lived the proof.the bill wont work.i don’t need the proof
      i have lived it,and got over it with out any help from the state.if you cant get over it and
      are scared for life there is no law in the world that can help you.
      5.the state has many more things it should be doing besides passing an unenforceable
      nebulous law when no one can define what bullying is or is not.how about they address
      the billions and billions of unfunded money thats going to be needed for state employees
      retirement and medical benefits?
      6.quit using our children as unpaid lobbyist’s.they are not there to learn about the system.
      there are pre-arranged scheduled tours that take care of that. busing in children on a moments
      notice using tax payer money for political purposes is immoral at best and illegal at worst.
      any one that thinks otherwise is naive or lying.
      7.the anti-bullying bill is incendiary and outrageous.it chafes at the very foundation of
      every ones personal freedoms.the rational response to the bill is because of the irrational
      belief by some that a law will prevent some ones feeling being hurt.

  7. Submitted by Anne Larson on 04/05/2014 - 09:40 pm.

    Following Mr. Tester’s logic

    (“wimpification of this society”, etc.), should we not then do away with statutes protecting adults from a hostile work environment? Let these adults stand up for themselves at work, be self-reliant, and stop looking to the government to protect them.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/06/2014 - 11:50 am.

      I agree with you totally

      If you don’t like it where you work, quit, and work somewhere else. It’s amazing to me how many people fear and resent their own freedom.

      • Submitted by Anne Larson on 04/06/2014 - 03:52 pm.

        you’re missing my point

        on purpose perhaps?

      • Submitted by jason myron on 04/07/2014 - 06:26 am.

        Your freedom

        doesn’t include being a racist, misogynist, xenophobic bigot in the workplace or school system. Does that revelation “amaze” you too?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/07/2014 - 03:25 pm.

          Actually, it does

          The law just prohibits anyone from acting on their racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, or homophobic beliefs in the workplace or school system. Parents are free to indoctrinate their children with all manner of rubbish–read them Chick Tracts before bed, if you like–and the children are allowed to believe it. They are merely prohibited from hassling other students because of those beliefs.

          It’s the “don’t act on it” part that frosts right-wingers. What’s the good of a public education if you can’t torment someone else?

  8. Submitted by mike schoonover on 04/06/2014 - 07:39 pm.

    20 years down the road

    this kind of regulation wont stop until there is zero
    chance of a public school student ever having to
    develop personal character.
    this law is totally unenforceable.
    what about after school and weekends?
    what about summer?oh never mind.future amendments to
    the law will address these issues.
    short of physical violence which is already against the law
    are we to intervene every time student a hurts the feelings
    of student b?
    what will happen when laws such as this get intermingled
    with the thought crime already on the books?
    to this i say”neener,neener,neener,ya boobs”
    regards
    mike

  9. Submitted by John Appelen on 04/07/2014 - 04:20 pm.

    Unenforceable

    Well I found the wording that I find absolutely unacceptable. Checkout lines 2.30 to 2.32 below. To me this opens the schools to huge liability lawsuits and financial settlements. Somehow these yahoos think the school is supposed to be accountable for the facebook, twitter, etc student usage and cyber bullying “off school premises.

    We are now feeding kids because parents can not be held accountable. Now they want the poor schools to “play” parents after school hours. What are they thinking?

    “Subdivision 1. Local and state policy; scope and application. (a) This section
    2.24applies to:
    2.25(1) conduct on school premises, at school functions or activities, and on school
    2.26transportation;
    2.27(2) use of electronic technology and communications on school premises, during
    2.28school functions or activities, on school transportation, and on school computers,
    2.29networks, forums, and mailing lists; and
    2.30(3) use of electronic technology and communications off school premises to the
    2.31extent such use is reasonably foreseeable to substantially and materially disrupt student
    2.32learning or the school environment.”

    For more discussion, pro and con…
    http://give2attain.blogspot.com/2014/02/mn-legislative-session.html

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/07/2014 - 05:20 pm.

      Seek, and ye shall find

      You knew that if you looked hard enough, you would find some reason to oppose this bill. After all, if the liberals are for it, there must be a good reason to oppose it, right?

      It’s a pity that the reasons you came up with don’t hold water. First of all, the law is merely directing schools to develop policies. These policies apply to off-premises activities “to the extent such use is reasonably foreseeable to substantially and materially disrupt student learning or the school environment.” So a student who posts on Facebook about other students is not running afoul of any policy adopted as a result of this law unless there is some spillover into the classroom. There will be no requirement that schools police students after hours, and there will be no “accountability” for those posts. The Ayn Rand Club remains free to post about how they are disliked because they are so much smarter than everyone else. If they should try to translate that superiority into bullying, then the school policy will apply.

      Second, the canard of “huge liability lawsuits and financial settlements” is nonsense, and not even very entertaining nonsense. There is no explicit grant of a right to bring a civil action in this bill. An implied right of action will be found only if it looks like that’s what the Legislature intended. Can you point to any language in the bill that would lead you to conclude that the Legislature intended to create a right to bring an action for violations of the law? And by language, I mean actual words, not just “you know it would happen.”

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/07/2014 - 06:01 pm.

        I Hope You are Correct

        Unfortunately juries tend to see School Districts as deep pockets. Especially when the law indicates that somehow “the District should have known that little Bobbie’s Facebook problems were going to spill over”… And little Bobbie gets hurt or dead…

        I truly hope I am wrong…

        I already see the extra personnel needed to try to monitor all these things that Parents should be managing… I truly do feel for the school administrators and teachers, just one more non-teaching activity added to there list…

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/08/2014 - 09:07 am.

          Juries?

          A lawsuit brought under this law would be deemed frivolous and tossed at the initial stages. No soft-hearted jury would get to hear it.

          I doubt the policies would require any additional personnel to monitor students. Policies will be implemented to deal with situations as they arise. You can instead feel sorry for teachers for being demonized by ill-informed critics of public education.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/08/2014 - 02:39 pm.

            Rationale?

            Why again would a lawsuit be thrown out?

            The only way they can insure bullying does not harm someone is to be proactive and vigilant. Of course additional work will be required, otherwise there would be no reason to pass the law. Unless you think the law by itself will stop the bullies.

            I was wondering why the school folk were supporting this bill, since it just adds more regulatory concerns for them… My thought is that they will use it to ask for more staff and money. (ie another unfunded mandate…) I can’t wait to see if that happens.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/08/2014 - 04:14 pm.

              Why again would a lawsuit be thrown out?

              Any attorney defending a suit brought under this law would know enough to bring a motion to dismiss before trial (under either Rule 12.03 or 56.02 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure). I’m going to paraphrase a bit, but these rules allow a party to bring a motion to dismiss whenever it is clear that the other side does not have a good legal basis for their claim. Of course, that assumes that such a frivolous claim would be brought (Rule 11 of the Rules of Civil Procedure is a powerful deterrent).

              Schools may have supported the law so they would have clear policy guidelines to follow, or so that recalcitrant boards (who believe boys will be boys and the suicides of gay teens builds character) will be forced to let them adopt these policies.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/08/2014 - 05:56 pm.

                Time will Tell

                It will be interesting to see how the Judges and Juries handle this. My guess is that the “tie” goes to the “injured child” and against that “negligent school district”.

                “use of electronic technology and communications off school premises to the extent such use is reasonably foreseeable to substantially and materially disrupt student learning or the school environment.”

                Since I occassionally have had to deal with defending product designs, that “foreseeable” word is most interesting. Because after the injury or failure, many things that were difficult to see in the past are easy to see with the benefit of hindsight. (ie hind sight is 20/20) Then throw in a lawyer, a scarred child and you have the perfect storm. Get out the checkbook.

                I mean no one thought that terrorists would fly a plane into a building until they did it. Now we wonder how we could not have thought of that…

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/09/2014 - 08:48 am.

                  One point.

                  Many people thought it possible that terrorists would use planes as guided missiles to hit high-value targets. Tom Clancy even wrote a book about it in 1994. The Japanese basically did the same thing throughout WW2. But it’s nice that you compare an anti-bullying bill to the September 11 attacks.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/09/2014 - 03:17 pm.

                    You are welcome

                    The reality is that something will happen to a child.
                    The plaintiffs lawyer will find social media evidence pre-dating the event.
                    The lawyer will argue that the school should have been aware.
                    The parents and/or child will testify how badly the oversight damaged them.
                    The jury with the benefit of hindsight will agree that the school should have seen it coming.
                    The school will pay out…

                    Or the school will just pay out to avoid the press and legal fees.

                    That is the problem with the American Tort system. We do not have experts determine if the school, business, etc was compliant with regulations or standards. We have the Plaintiffs peers.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/10/2014 - 09:06 am.

                      You’re talking like the school won’t have an attorney representing them, which is rather absurd, and if it was a jury trial or a bench trial, counsel for both sides would still be able to call expert witnesses and make their respective cases. Why are you opposed to giving people due process in the courts? Just curious.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/10/2014 - 12:54 pm.

                      Already in Place

                      Due process is already in place. I believe this law just gives the plaintiffs lawyer an easier case.

                      Just keep in mind that you as a tax payer will be funding both the District’s lawyer, the expert witness and the settlement. I would rather have that money in the classroom.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/10/2014 - 03:06 pm.

                      Social Obligations

                      I am well aware of my obligation to pay taxes. I am also aware that I cannot pick and choose where my tax dollars go, and this will be, quite frankly, a drop in the tax bucket.

                      Could you please inform your employer of their obligations to pay taxes? Perhaps if they hadn’t dodged that 2 billion in taxes, our share of that collective burden would be somewhat smaller.

      • Submitted by mike schoonover on 04/08/2014 - 09:06 am.

        come again?

        your interpretation of your following statement is flawed.
        “These policies apply to off-premises activities “to the extent such use is reasonably foreseeable to substantially and materially disrupt student learning or the school environment.” So a student who posts on Facebook about other students is not running afoul of any policy adopted as a result of this law unless there is some spillover into the classroom. There will be no requirement that schools police students after hours, and there will be no “accountability” for those posts.”
        seeing how when ever any thing that’s posted on face book that is defaming to another student it is 100% guaranteed to spill over into the classroom when or however it is posted.,how can not the schools
        be held responsible for not monitoring said facebook 24/7/365?
        of course if student a tells student b some very nasty and hurtful things about student c
        at the family 4th of July picnic and student c hears about it in September and is hurt and
        devastated,looses concentration and cant perform school work can you tell me with a straight face
        this will be perfectly acceptable?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/09/2014 - 09:36 am.

          Again

          Once again, if there is no acting out in school, or no complaints to school authorities about in school conduct, there is no responsibility for the administration to do anything.

          Let me ask you this: Why are you so solicitous of the rights of bullies?

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/07/2014 - 05:44 pm.

      What are they thinking?

      That some parent’s aren’t able, or don’t wish to step in to prevent their children from victimizing others. In lieu of a magic spell to make them do so, they wish the school to step in and protect innocent VICTIMS from harm. Perhaps you prefer we let the government start removing kids from parents who refuse to address their children’s behavior issues? Jail time perhaps? Doesn’t really strike me as a conservative position, so aside from telling victims to shut up and take it, or retaliate with further violence, what exactly do you suggest?

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/07/2014 - 08:52 pm.

        Actually

        I think the Parents of the “Victim” should be close enough to their child to know there is a problem.

        Then they should work with their child to see if there is a way the child can handle it on their own.

        If not, they should then approach the Parents of the “Bully”, with the help of the police or school officials if they fear confrontation.

        Then the Bully’s parents should address the behaviors of their child.

        If the Bully’s parents don’t take responsibility and address the issue, escalate as necessary.

        Seems like responsible parenting to me. No one ever said Parenting would be easy.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/09/2014 - 09:37 am.

          Punctuation question

          Why do you put “bullies” and “victims” in quotation marks? Is that another way of saying “so-called?”

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/09/2014 - 09:42 pm.

            Gray vs Black/White

            There may be clear cases of GOOD and EVIL, BULLY and VICTIM, etc. I believe though that most of the cases are much more complicated than that, especially with the peer dynamics at play. Whereas many people here seem to want to make clear distinctions.

            Therefore “so called” is probably pretty close to my meaning.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 04/09/2014 - 11:03 pm.

              It’s amazing

              that your ability to grasp the potential complexity of this dynamic, doesn’t extend to granting the same understanding to all of those lazy, minimum wage workers that you love to disparage here on a daily basis. Yup…they can all be painted with the same stereotypical broad stroke.

  10. Submitted by Jon Lord on 04/09/2014 - 09:14 am.

    well

    I used to bully bullies to a certain extent. I have to admit I enjoyed it to a certain extent also. Trying to push them to the point where they, well, reacted I guess. I sort of considered it “free admission”. Oddly, they never felt it was fair.

    Bullies are the way the are because of their parents views, whether they themselves were bullied and or put down by their parents and feel the need to strike out against someone else or their parents praise that kind of behavior for whatever reason.

    Children don’t grow up as their own thinking ‘rugged individuals’ but are programmed mostly by what their parents think and how they act, in most cases, whether it’s positive or negative. That should be obvious but it apparently isn’t far too often. Bullies are lacking in social control which reflects on their parents. And on their parents, etc.

  11. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 04/09/2014 - 07:02 pm.

    Good heavens, people

    Nobody can really stop you from teaching your children whatever you want, but your beliefs do not give your children the right to beat up or emotionally torment other children.

    I don’t happen to believe that being gay is a sin (my experience with dozens of GLBT people over the years tells me that its’ an inborn personality trait), but even if you do believe that, can you point to anywhere in the Bible where Jesus tells the crowd to go beat up the people he disapproves of?

    Your children aren’t “acting on their Christian faith” if they bully children they perceive to be gay or otherwise unconventional. They’re just being mean little toads.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/09/2014 - 09:56 pm.

      No One Here

      I haven’t heard anyone here advocating that children be free to bully others. However should children be free to stay away from other children who behave in a “sinful” manner? How do we respect their beliefs?

      Vegetarian kids get to stay away from dissection exercises.
      Parents get to keep their children out of other class sessions.
      Now are we going to force Christian students to be team members with a Gay student who participates in activities that the Christian child finds reprehensible?

      Do we then become the bullies by placing a highly religious child in an unacceptable position?
      Just to ensure another child’s feelings aren’t hurt…

      Very complicated…

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/10/2014 - 06:42 am.

        Why yes of course

        We can’t have those reprehensible gays assisting our good christian children with math homework, or history lessons, or god forbid, A READING ASSIGNMENT! I mean the gay agenda is spread by their simply existing and not being shut off in a room by themselves. Its amazing to me John, that’d folks of your mindset have the gall to question why you’d be labeled homophobic, yet persist with rhetoric like this. I know you can see the flaw in reasoning, so what is the explanation?

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/10/2014 - 08:11 am.

          It Makes No Difference to Me

          I personally don’t care. I just look at it from both sides.

          You don’t want Christian children forcing their beliefs on the Gay child.
          They don’t want the Gay children forcing their beliefs on the Christian child.

          Because as far as science has been able to prove so far, at least from the sources provided to me over the years. Their is no “gay gene” or physical difference that has been identified. Please provide a source if you have one that being gay is a physical or physiological characteristic and not a belief/behavior.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/10/2014 - 09:31 am.

            Seriously?

            First of all, not all Christian children hate gays, or are frightened of them.

            Second, playing on the same team or being in the same room with a gay student isn’t “forcing” beliefs on anyone.

            Third, there are studies that have concluded that there is some genetic basis for homosexuality: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10637532/Being-homosexual-is-only-partly-due-to-gay-gene-research-finds.html. In any event, what difference does it make? There is no genetic basis for conservatism or Christianity: is it alright to look at both sides of the question of bullying those students?

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/10/2014 - 10:03 pm.

              Thank you

              That was a very interesting article and I hope the scientists continue the good work. It looks like they are getting close regarding identifying who is likely to be gay. Though it seems they are still in the dark regarding lesbians.

              It will be interesting if they get to the point when they can reliably determine the sexual orientation of the fetus. That could leave some on the far religious right with some conflicting alternatives.

              I’ll need to share it with my Conservatives on G2A and see what they think.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/10/2014 - 09:41 am.

            Who cares

            As far as I know religion is a choice is it not? The problem lies in its imperative to be spread to others whether they wish it or not. Would the christian folks refrain from denouncing those not if like mind in the public sphere, or attempt to enact legislation to limit their personal liberties, this would be a non issue. They seemingly are unable to do so. That they see the very existence of gay individuals in any setting as an affront to their religious beliefs is their problem, not societies, and certainly not mine. Its seems to me that their true motivation is to prevent the very thought that folks other than themselves should be acknowledged as decent, everyday, unremarkable people. Simply put, they wish their mindset be forced on everyone and can’t stand it when we won’t agree to it. Before you go into the predictable reversal please answer how simply asking for protection from abuse, and to have equal civil rights, even approaches the same desire for “thought control” that folks on the “traditionalist” side of the argument attempt themselves.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/10/2014 - 09:49 am.

            To continue

            Go ahead and provide the source (do try to make it a credible one) where anyone is forcing christians to change their BELIEFS. As far as I know the only request is a change in behavior. That behavior being interjecting christian belief in areas where it is neither appropriate or desired. As far as I go, one can believe as one wishes, as long as one recognizes it applies to NO ONE but oneself. If one is unable to mind that restriction, one should prepare for push back.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/10/2014 - 10:16 am.

            So in your world, Christians and gays are mutually exclusive? And can you please provide a source, if you have one, that being straight is a physical or physiological characteristic and not a belief/behavior. If not, you should probably stop using ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ as a metric to judge someone’s worthiness.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/10/2014 - 01:19 pm.

              Consistency

              RB, Matt and Jonathan,

              Does this mean you are supportive of children preaching their religious beliefs in school hallways? Can Teachers espouse their religious beliefs in class?
              Are you okay with this?

              I mean it seems you want gay boys to be able to make out in the halls along with the straight kids. You want to allow Teachers to express that gay behavior is acceptable and normal in class lectures… Probably in the remediation plans… So should the “Christians who think gay is wrong” have the same rights?

              Now if science can prove that being gay is a physiological state rather than a belief/behavior, then the story changes very quickly. Right now there is a large group of people out there who see gay activities as the same as evangalizing, vandalizing, stealing, etc. Meaning that it is just a behavior choice, not a way of being.

              RB, I’ll read your link later.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/10/2014 - 02:07 pm.

                Answers

                I’m assuming your questions refer to public schools.

                “Does this mean you are supportive of children preaching their religious beliefs in school hallways?” If it doesn’t interfere with other students or disrupt things, and as long as it’s not sponsored by the school, yes.

                “Can Teachers espouse their religious beliefs in class?” No. See, US Constitution, Amendments I and XIV. See also Constitution of Minnesota, Article I, section 16. If a teacher wants to lead a voluntary, extracurricular religious group, go for it.

                “I mean it seems you want gay boys to be able to make out in the halls along with the straight kids.” Why would gay kids want to make out with straight kids? Do you not know what “gay” and “straight” mean? In any event, you are focusing too much on the “gay” aspect of the law. The law mandates policies that prohibit bullying because of a student’s religion, race, or gender. For the record, I have said nothing that would condone students making out in the hallways, either alone or with others (like they need my permission). What the law attempts to prevent is bullying of students who are gay, or Christian, etc. It does not allow students to act out.

                “You want to allow Teachers to express that gay behavior is acceptable and normal in class lectures…” Again with the focus on gays. Teachers are supposed to tell students that they may not pick on someone who is gay, or Baptist, or Latino. They are not required to tell students that they have to like it. Just leave each other alone.

                “So should the ‘Christians who think gay is wrong’ have the same rights?” Christians–or Jews, or Muslims, or Zoroastrians–who think “gay is wrong” have the same rights not to be bullied because of their beliefs. They do not have the right to preach to the class.

                “Right now there is a large group of people out there who see gay activities as the same as evangelizing, vandalizing, stealing, etc.” There are a lot of ignorant folks out there, but what are you going to do? Let’s be nice, and not bully them.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/10/2014 - 10:22 pm.

                  Choice of Focus

                  The only reason I focused on the gay issue is because I find it ironic that some commenters here have labelled and belittled people for having different views from their own. While defending their right to have a belief system that some disagree with. I simply find it ironic.

                  “The law just prohibits anyone from acting on their racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, or homophobic beliefs in the workplace or school system.”

                  It is interesting.

                  • Submitted by jason myron on 04/11/2014 - 01:53 pm.

                    Those same commenters

                    aren’t the ones that continue to attempt to pass laws that deny equal pay for women, deny them reproductive heath care, put demeaning, draconian regulations on them while some are making the difficult decision to have an abortion, deny people the privilege to marry based on their sexual preference or make it easier to discriminate, disparage and bully those same people and others that are deemed unworthy based on “religious freedom” …you can shift the focus back into your own mirror any time now…if you’re brave enough for the introspection.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/11/2014 - 02:04 pm.

                      Goal?

                      Is your goal then to be worse than the worst of that small group on the far right?

                      Personally I like to consider the views of both sides.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/11/2014 - 02:18 pm.

                      If only

                      The religious wing is most likely still the most powerful in modern mainstream conservatism. I would hardly consider that a small fringe group. How exactly do you suppose all of the measures Jason listed came to be? If your claim is that the modern conservative movement has no interest in any of those things you might want to figure out how it is that it’s being controlled by such a small, fringe element.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/11/2014 - 03:09 pm.

                      Mixed Bag

                      As folks here have mentioned, there are many Christians like myself who are ok with gays and lesbians. Jason’s list was a bit exhaustive typical far Left for me. Remember, I am pro-choice but anti-abortion. I want people to have a choice, but I don’t want it to be easy for any human to stop another human heart from beating…

                      The question is how do we as bloggers disagree politely while discussing differing views. Just by pointing out different views, I was quickly labelled as anti-gay even though I repeated defend the opposite… It is interesting watching the interactions and reactions.

                      As for control, if the DFL is fairly moderate, how does the far left influence so much control? It seems to be a problem that is inherent in the 2 party system.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/11/2014 - 06:31 pm.

                      Bias affecting your perspective

                      The DFL IS moderate due to the rightward influence of many of the interests necessary to compete in an ever more expensive electoral process. That you see it as a far left wing entity is a reflection on your perception, not the party. To those of us in the trenches its a constant battle of pushing and shoving the party back to where we would like it to be. The Democratic party on a national level would qualify as center right if not conservative when held up against the standard of true liberal social democracies globally. As for your question on politeness, one could begin by retaining from specious straw men, like the implication that folks are pro abortion, never met one who is, myself included. Generally speaking I think a good place to start is to imagine one is speaking with a close personal acquaintance, as opposed to a stranger. Friends disagree all the time, but generally speaking, the discourse doesn’t devolve to the level we commonly see on commentary forums, particularly anonymous ones. Just a suggestion, one which I sometimes stray from myself, but hopefully the answer you were looking for.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/11/2014 - 03:45 pm.

                      Worst of the worst?

                      If illuminating their double standard and blatant hypocrisy makes them uncomfortable, so be it. My goal is to stand up against bullies like I’ve always done and like all bullies, they tend to whine the loudest and take umbrage when someone dares to go nose to nose with them. So, spare me your assessment that it’s only a small group. Conservatives have let that small group devour and poison their entire party. By the way, I have considered both sides and I still consider misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia and racism to be repugnant, no matter what pseudo-religious dogma you attempt to cloak it behind. Does that clear it up for you?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 04/11/2014 - 09:23 pm.

                      Relativity

                      Remember that when you are sitting in the far left seats of a theater. Everyone looks like they are sitting to the right…
                      http://give2attain.blogspot.com/2010/08/snopes-relativity.html

                      If you want to pull the DFL to the Left, do you then stand with these folks?
                      http://www.dsausa.org/

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/12/2014 - 02:01 am.

                      Yeah, yeah…

                      and the same can be said when you’re in the far right seats. When you refer to a small, accurate sampling of conservative bullying as “a bit exhaustive typical far Left for me” especially considering your daily plethora of posts that grinds out the same tired ground while endlessly pimping your blog ( as if the unique insight contained within will lead us all to the epiphany that conservatism is the only way to salvation ) it’s painfully obvious that you have no capacity to look at your own views objectively, much less mine… or anyone else here, for that matter.

              • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 04/10/2014 - 02:24 pm.

                More bizarre extrapolations

                “Does this mean you are supportive of children preaching their religious beliefs in school hallways? Can Teachers espouse their religious beliefs in class?”

                Children can talk about their religious beliefs all the want, and children can talk about football or cars or video games all they want. If they do it in a way that is disruptive and disrespectful, that’s where the problem lies.

                Teachers should not be proselytizing in class, but respectful discussions of religion are fine where appropriate.

                “I mean it seems you want gay boys to be able to make out in the halls along with the straight kids.”

                Granted, it’s been 16 years since I was in high school, but as I recall, “making out” of any kind was prohibited in hallways. I expect the same standards of decorum be applied equally.

                “You want to allow Teachers to express that gay behavior is acceptable and normal in class lectures… Probably in the remediation plans… So should the “Christians who think gay is wrong” have the same rights?”

                Gay people are human beings, just like you and me. Being a gay person is entirely acceptable, and normal. All the gay people I’ve known exhibit the same behaviors any straight, bi, trans person. Or do stereotypes of men with high voices scare you?

                Christians who think “gay is wrong” DO have the same rights. They just don’t have the right to impose their bigotry upon others.

                “Now if science can prove that being gay is a physiological state rather than a belief/behavior, then the story changes very quickly. Right now there is a large group of people out there who see gay activities as the same as evangalizing, vandalizing, stealing, etc. Meaning that it is just a behavior choice, not a way of being.”

                Hmmm… I’d LOVE for you to produce any scientific evidence on this. If you can, and it’s refuted by, say, 97% of their peers, would you still agree with it?

                I’ll ask you again: In your world, are christians and gays mutually exclusive?

                • Submitted by Keith Morris on 04/10/2014 - 09:05 pm.

                  involuntary reaction called an, “erection”?

                  Sure, with homo/bisexual females it’s much more difficult to gauge an involuntary same-sex attraction just by looking at them, but with guys, especially teens you can’t tell me that when it only happens with other guys that this involuntary physical reaction is a “choice”, not that it matters. If people choose to be superstitious and take at face value what some ignorant tribesmen from the Middle East *claim* a supernatural being told them they’re free to do so as long they don’t impose their superstitions on others. Believe that thinking a certain thought will give you eternal life or that stepping on a crack will break your mother’s back: both are equally (in)valid positions. It takes no amount of belief that there are men who want to be with men and women who want to be with women because it happens and everyone here knows this. Leave people to their own beliefs and their own relationships.

  12. Submitted by jason myron on 04/09/2014 - 10:55 pm.

    Team Members?

    So your kid can’t rub shoulders with a kid that’s gay in some sort of school situation? And what “activities” are you talking about? Some sort of secret “gay agenda” indoctrination meeting? What planet do you people reside on? The reaction to this from some of you is over the top.

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