Are No-Bullying Zones Constitutional?
By WENDY KAMINER
”…/ It started on college and university campuses, where repressive speech codes have been teaching generations of students that they have no right to offend anyone who can claim membership in a growing list of presumptively disadvantaged groups. Now, this mindlessly censorious movement to force people to be nice to each other is encroaching on off-campus life: The Council of the District of Columbia is considering banning the “harassment, intimidation, or bullying” of students in public libraries and parks, as well as schools.“
Original article here, after annoying ad:
Dont bother, she says, ” trying to figure out what this vague and verbose definition of bullying includes. Focus instead what it might exclude — not much. Virtually no speech or behavior that a student might consider insulting and that a petty bureaucrat might find offensive and disruptive is beyond the reach of this ban.“
”In addition to policing the everyday speech of anyone who frequents a public park or library, the bill creates a system of informants within specific agencies. Students, volunteers, or agency employees are required to report alleged bullying incidents to the “appropriate official” named in that agency’s mandatory anti-bullying policy. And the policy must allow for anonymous reporting. Forgive me for stating what should be obvious: this is not a prescription for fostering mutual tolerance and trust in an open and free society. “
…/ ”Art Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU’s D.C. affiliate, voiced concerns about the definition of bullying: “What does it mean by harming a student … Does that mean hurting a student’s feelings? If a student comes in and says I feel very harmed by the fact that so and so said I was a crappy athlete … that’s not bullying.“
She asks: ”Why not simply promulgate and enforce rules against harassment? Why devise new legal concepts and definitions of bullying? Because the Court’s definition of harassment was reasonably narrow and does not allow for expansive speech policing, which is a goal of anti-bullying advocates.” /…/ “The new civil rights/anti-bullying advocates have apparently forgotten, if ever they remembered, that freedom of speech, including the freedom to offend, has been essential to their own liberation movements. Women once deeply offended social mores merely by speaking in public. African-Americans surely offended segregationists by demanding equality. And if gay rights activists lacked the right to offend the “family values” crowd, gay pride parades would have been enjoined long ago. “
What’s going on is this, I reckon – if you can police speech you can prevent discussion of anything. Like this: we have a discussion. Any discussion worthy of the name will involve disagreement. You claim I dissed you, I didn’t, I say, I merely disagreed with your view, Voltaire-stylee. you claim bullying, and the discussion is shut down. All discussions can be shut down, and tents are deadly offensive weapons outside St Pauls.
And note this – we don’t even have the protection of a constitution and bill of rights, like what the Yanks* have.
But we do have Sean the Sheep, for real:
*Yanks? That’s offensive, coming from a limey. Substituting ‘being offended’ for ‘campaigning for equal rights’ – how’s that working in terms of the Equality agenda, going forward, at this point in time?