1) Louisiana teacher encourages students to bully Buddhist student. The ACLU is suing the Sabine Parish School Board because of one teacher’s inexplicable alleged campaign to harass and abuse one of her students for his Buddhist beliefs. It isn’t just that the teacher thought a public school classroom was an ideal place to promote her interpretation of Christianity, though that would be reason enough to sue. The teacher reportedly agreed with a classmate who called the Buddhist student “stupid” for not believing in God and encouraged the students to laugh at him. She also reportedly called Buddhism stupid, and gave students tests where the “right” answer was to affirm Christian dogma. When Scott Lane, the student’s stepfather, went to the superintendent to complain, she defended the teacher by saying that this is the “Bible Belt.” Apparently, to the administration being in the Bible Belt means not only is the First Amendment suspended, but singling kids out and taunting them because they’re different is acceptable behavior.
The story is very despicable. As to part of that teacher's carreer. Nothing she should take pride in. Either she should have been teaching in a Christian school with no Buddhist students around, or she should have put up with the Buddhist student. And respectfully explained to him, preferrably in private, why Buddhism is wrong and Christianity right, if concerned for student's eternal welfare. And refrained from being repetitive in ways likely to alienate the student from Christianity.
Now, before anyone starts going "this is what Christians ..." or at least "... right wing Bible thumping Christians are like", I would like to mention that exactly same thing was done by Evolution believing teachers to me in Sweden. And if ma complained specifically about that, she may have gotten some reply like "this is not the Bible belt", as if that meant she had no right to raise me as a Christian. She was in fact abused very much more than that by the boardingschool where this happened.
Next item gets closer to home. After being harrassed - among other things called gay though I was not and have not even now become so - for being a Young Earth Creationist and against Abortion, and I refuse to call attempts to dissuade from abortion bullying, it is trying to save lives, I have later been exploited in "antigay bullying campaigns". Such things suck, not because it is wrong to want to stop bullying, but because because the antibullying campaign is looking only one way.
Being first called gay by one's bullies and then by those presumably involved in stopping bullies, even when none were apparent on that particular account, even when the school in question probably had no gay people, because clarifying things about me would have stopped their campaign in favour of the there non-existent gays: that sucks.
7) Plain, unvarnished praise of bullying as a rite of passage. The escalating hostility toward anti-bullying campaigns reached a new peak when Fox News host Anna Kooiman sneered at anti-bullying campaigns generally. “But people are asking, is this going too far because it includes teasing, social exclusion, intimidation, and those are things that are almost a rite of passage sometimes for kids.”
Needless to say, there is zero evidence that being excluded and intimidated has positive psychological effects for kids. Bullied children suffer many possible negative effects, including higher rates of depression, declining grades in school and even health problems.
Anyone favouring rites of passage like bullying is in my view rather a Freemason or a Jew than a Christian. I say "rather than" so as not to precluse the existence of Freemasons or Jews at least individually against this kind of rite of passage. Collectively and up to now, they have for instance shown an interest in giving me some experience of rites of passage. Like those. Even those kind personally to me have been from my part suspected of being in certain agreements with my bullies, for instance about not trying to play my music or not trying to republish my essays in payable paper form. But I feel more bitterness about Christians who have been agreeing with them on that item.
I may mention that the immigrant building worker who gave me a bad start of last Saturday morning was asking me "who do you think you are?" Like as if part of or abetted by some network trying to teach me a lesson or two.
Note that I am not calling "teasing" bullying. Those are different things. When teasing continues into unwanted teasing causing anger and distress, rather than elicit a smile, it is not teasing any more. It is bullying.
It may be noted that a recent Republican icon, George W. Bush Jr, was into the Skull and Bones as a University student. Meaning that not everything that plays on the rightwing side is Christian. Anna Kooiman seems to have forgiven those teasing her back in her schooldays, but that does not mean she should forgive a system which promotes it.
In my own case, two systems promoted it, or rather three, while I was a student at school:
- School compulsion to exclusion or large scale elimination of home schooling.
- Social services enforcing this by ending homescholing. Family, that is basically ma, who was raisng me as a Creationist, as said, was given a choice:
- A school for mentally retarded.
- A Boarding school.
- A fosterhome for me.
- Since I picked the boarding school, I had further two years of harrassment to the brink of my capacity to suffer. But a home parent was writing in papers that I was integrating well, so that it should look like I had been better off at boarding school than with ma. Note she was not Christian, she was widow of a Freemason, lover and later wife of another such, and she thought I needed a few rites of passage, no doubt. She did tell harrassers off once in a while when catching them doing it too overtly before her, but she had also passed one of the worst as one getting responsibility under her in the house.
She plus one other house parent were not telling me once, but several times over, why she was no Christian, I had to answer the stupidest questions and remarks over and over again. Any Christian recalls the Stone Paradox? Well, the house father was fond of that one!
I have since come to suspect she, the house mother, was behind my back encouraging those guys to harrass me, in order to get a few ideas out of my head and in order to adapt me.
Do not blame Christianity for such bullying. Blame what should be blamed, the school compulsion. Plus boarding schools with rites of passage nostalgia.
Library Hélène Berr
* 7 ways the Christian right makes bullying its primary agenda
Amanda Marcotte, Alternet