Oklahoma City – We at Ignite Liberty have devoted the vast majority of our coverage of this legislative session to bills that deserve to be supported. Too often, really good bills too easily die in committee, while questionable or just plain bad bills seem to roar through the legislature at breakneck speed.
So far this year has been one of the better years in recent memory with both houses seemingly committed to advancing a decidedly pro-liberty/pro-freedom agenda. As with every legislative session, however, there are bills that represent a desperate attempt to do “something” about a problem that the legislation simply should not touch. SB 222, authored by Senator Standridge, is just such a bill.
As stated in our “What We Believe” series of newsletters, good civil government is only good when it stays within the proper boundaries established for it in the “laws of nature and Nature’s God.” When it begins to encroach upon church government, family government, or self government, tyranny begins to creep in on our God-given liberties. In this legislative session, SB 222 is an example of over-legislating a problem whose solution resides within the other three realms of proper governance.
Labled an “Anti-Bullying” bill, the legislation seeks to redefine bullying in a manner that represents a direct encroachment upon civil liberties. Let us be clear, no one is for bullying. In fact, we already have good anti-bullying statutes on the books. However, this bill changes the very definition to something that should concern every conservative.
Currently under Oklahoma law, bullying is defined as “any pattern of harassment, intimidation, threatening behavior, physical acts, verbal or electronic communication directed toward a student or group of students.” (70 O.S. 2011, Section 24-100.3.A.1) A simple, clear definition that, if properly enforced, would provide the means necessary to address bullying in schools.
SB 222, however, would change this definition to read, “unwanted, aggressive behavior committed in person or by electronic communication toward a student or group of students…that involves a power imbalance that is repeated or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying actions shall include, but not be limited to, harassment, intimidation, threatening behavior, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally and excluding someone from a group as a means of causing harm.”
While some of that language would obviously fall under a reasonable person’s definition of bullying, the involvement of a “power imbalance that is repeated or is highly likely to be repeated” reads like a passage straight of of a Critical Race Theory textbook. Under this definition, a black student could accuse a white student of bullying simply by that student refusing to agree with the absurd notion that the white student is a racist simply because they are white. After all, BLM actively preaches that “whiteness” and “systemic racism” creates a power imbalance that is inherent.
This probably well-meaning legislation allows a back door for CRT to be practiced in our schools under the guise of “anti-bullying.” What’s worse is that this legislation would require school district to come up with plans for how to implement this new policy in their schools, and train their staff on how to address and report bullying under this new definition. Essentially, it turns our school districts in defacto CRT Reeducation camps, and turns our teachers and school staff into unwilling CRT Gestapo.
Let’s be clear, bullying is not ok. However, unless it involves assault and battery between students (which is already a crime) this is an issue for the parents and the church to solve…not the legislature. When most of us were growing up, we were taught that the best way to deal with a bully was to stand up to him. In doing so we learned self-respect, how to stand up for ourselves and what we believed in, and how to stand up for others…all lessons that are critical in turning students into good citizens.
When we start teaching our kids that if Johnny starts to call them names, won’t agree with their worldview, dares to speak up for what they believe in, or don’t pick them for dodgeball (do we still even allow dodgeball in PE?), then they need to turn the offending students in the police for prosecution under “anti-bullying” laws, what exactly are we teaching our children?
As if this bill wasn’t bad enough, it also contains a provision that would require anonymous reports of bullying to be taken with the same weight a seriousness as reports filed by a mandatory reporter. This measure continues a devastation trend started by the District Attorney Association a couple years ago to treat anonymous reports of child abuse the same way. Under this measure, someone could completely make up a false charge of bullying simply because they don’t like another kid or what they stand for, and essentially ruin that child’s life.
This measure may have had good intentions behind it, but the unintended consequences this legislation would have could be utterly disastrous for our children and our schools. The most disturbing this about this bill is that it passed the Senate by a 44-1 vote (Senator Dahm being the lone holdout), and has already passed unanimously out of the House Rules Committee. If it passes the House, it will go to the Governor’s desk for signature. At that point, he would be under enormous pressure to sign it, otherwise he would be labeled the “pro-bullying Governor”…which would be a lie, but it would be used against him in his re-election campaign.
This is where we as citizens must stand up and make our voices heard. Call/email your representative and urge them to vote against this bill. Heck, call/email ALL of the Representatives and urge them to vote “No”. After that, call/email Senator Dahm and thank him for opposing this bill. You may reference this article if you wish. Remember, as few as 10 people calling each Representative could make a huge difference in getting this bill defeated. It’s time to do our part!