A New "Anti"-Bullying Low

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Lenore Skenazy comments on an awful "anti-bullying" proposal by a Pennsylvania lawmaker:

He may not care to define bullying, but his actions will help anyone who is paying attention figure that out. (Image via Wikipedia.)
[I]sn't allowing anyone to report a bully anonymously ripe for backfiring? Doesn't this give unlimited power to anyone with the desire to hurt someone else? Open up an official case on the person, anonymously! We've already seen what happens when busybodies call child protective services to complain that a neighbor is parenting wrong. More anonymous reporting is not what we need.

And finally, there's the broader problem of teaching kids to outsource their moral development to the authorities. In the New York City subway, there are signs that say, "If you see a sick passenger, do not attempt to help them. Alert a police officer or a transit employee." The government is telling us to not be fully human: Do not exercise judgment or compassion; stand back and wait for officials to handle even the everyday problems that individuals have traditionally handled. Likewise, the bullying bill proposed by Burns takes an age-old issue and teaches kids not to try to solve it on their own. Ask an authority instead. [bold added]
My only reservation about the above is Skenazy's use of the term "backfiring." With plenty of examples of similar scenarios in academia already well-publicized (Sexual misconduct kangaroo courts, anyone?), it's hard to believe that Democrat Frank Burns doesn't know of such a possibility. And given his past "bullying" behavior, it is harder to believe he cares. But even if this is somehow a bug, rather than a feature, I hope Pennsylvanians stop this terrible measure in its tracks. And, at the risk of sounding redundant: As for the bill's furtherance of our culture's descent into authoritarianism, the same suspicion applies.

-- CAV

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