I have decided to create an Orwell Award for scariest Big Government proposal to hit the West Virginia State Legislature this session.
The award goes to Monongalia County Delegate Barbara Fleischauer for her anti-bullying bill. This bill, which passed the House Judiciary Committee, would subject children to school punishment if they have been found to have been bullied anywhere at anytime. This could be at the park over the summer, or anywhere else for that matter, even Myrtle Beach or Timbuktu. It could involve any communication in any form whatsoever. Republican Delegate Patrick Lane of Kanawha County was quoted in West Virginia Metro News as opposing the bill in the strongest possible terms.
Delegate Fleischauer insists that the bill is necessary because in recent years that parents don't seem willing to stop bullies.
I hate to break it to the House Judiciary Committee, but bullying was widespread in decades and centuries prior to Nancy Grace and Jane Valez Mitchell. Also, there have always been parents who refuse to believe that their little angel could be capable of bullying. You teach children strategies to deal with its reality, because it can never really be eradicated. Those strategies include, unfortunately, standing up and fighting for yourself.
Look at what Fleischauer's bill will do. A bully could use the power of the state against his or her target by threatening to turn someone in for bullying themselves. If it is off of school property and out of teacher and administrator earshot, how can proof of real guilt be established. Also in social networking, a statement taken out of context can be misinterpreted. This becomes Orwellian because an arm of the government has to operate as a Thought Police enforcing its will anywhere and everywhere with complete arbitrariness.
Children often have spats with each other that come and go like summer squalls. Anything said or done during these arguments could be construed as a bullying statement or action Boys especially will be good friends, get into fights and beat on each other, then be friends the next day. Do we really want the power of the state brought into these situations to perpetuate a conflict that would otherwise quickly pass?
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and social legislation.
Combine this with the bill to call for state investigations every time a kid misses more than five days of school and you really have a frightening overall invasion of parental authority and prerogative. People need to pay attention to the very tyrannical legislation making its way through the State Legislature this session.