New ‘yardstick’ sizes up anti-bullying policies

Alliance Defending Freedom, Focus on the Family tool helps schools measure strengths, weaknesses of their policies
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Attorney sound bite:  Jeremy Tedesco

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Alliance Defending Freedom, in a joint effort with Focus on the Family, has developed an Anti-Bullying Policy Yardstick that allows public schools and the general public to evaluate several legal aspects of a school’s proposed or existing policies, including whether a policy protects all students from bullying or only a select few favored by activist groups advancing a homosexual agenda.

“All students deserve to be protected from bullying, not just ones favored by certain political activist groups. And all schools need help to ensure that their policies comport with their students’ First Amendment freedoms and other legal protections. This tool is designed to provide that help,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.

“Unfortunately, activist groups that promote homosexual behavior often dupe schools into adopting policies that protect students based on their ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity,’ which can unconstitutionally silence students who want to express their biblically-based views on sexuality,” Tedesco explained. “This new Anti-Bullying Policy Yardstick helps schools identify which policies are driven by a narrow political agenda and which ones protect First Amendment freedoms.”

The Yardstick is a tool that can help public school officials evaluate proposed and existing anti-bullying policies and laws, outlining the good and bad approaches to the top 10 most common components of these policies. Among other things, the Yardstick will help those officials detect strictly pro-homosexual programs propagated in the name of “safe schools” or “anti-bullying.”

Alliance Defending Freedom’s cover letter explains that “homosexual behavior advocates are demanding that protections for ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ be inserted into existing anti-bullying policies so that inappropriate, sexually-based materials can be promulgated to our children.” As a result, “schools are being transformed from places of safety and learning to places of unprecedented sexual education.”

In fact, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys stress that schools do not need to adopt “anti-bullying” policies to prevent bullying because school officials already possess authority to prohibit that type of behavior under existing policies.

However, according to the Yardstick, a good anti-bullying policy, if a school or school district chooses to have one, “provides a precise definition of ‘bullying’ that regulates bullying conduct” and “focuses on the acts or words said by the alleged bully rather than the intent or motives behind the actions.”

For more information about the Yardstick, visit TrueTolerance.org, a project of Focus on the Family.
  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-ko)
Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
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