This letter is in response to Jeff Wittenbrink’s incredibly unenlightened critique of House Bill 112, which would have required all parishes to adopt a specific anti-bullying law for public schools.
Wittenbrink first claims that many schools have a “zero-tolerance” policy when it comes to violence in schools, so a new law is not needed.
While I am sure that most schools would not overlook overt physical harassment, much bullying is of the insidious kind; it occurs with relentless insults and vulgarities through less obvious means such as social media.
In addition, six parishes are specifically excluded from the current anti-bullying law, including East Baton Rouge Parish.
Wittenbrink’s main issue with HB112 is that it promotes a “gay agenda” by explicitly prohibiting bullying brought on by a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
I am not going to go into the statistics of teenage suicide or depression caused by bullying. I am not even going to get into a debate about homosexuality being moral or immoral.
Despite anyone’s religious beliefs, please remember that we are protecting students from bullying. These are children! It is the function of a school to provide a safe education for everyone.
Are some students entitled to be bullied? Is there ever a good reason to be bullied, and is being gay one of them?
Wittenbrink calls it “unfortunate” when adults who believe it is acceptable to disparage others based on personal characteristics are disadvantaged in finding government jobs.
To this I say, thank God! Keep the personal biases out of jobs meant to serve the public.
HB112 is designed to protect all students in our schools from ongoing demoralization so that an education can be obtained in a safe environment.
I, for one, am happy to provide that.
Valerie Meiners Comeaux