NC Bullying Bill: Protection or Privilege For Gays? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

NC Bullying Bill: Protection or Privilege For Gays?

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by David Whisenant

A controversial bill that could become law in your child's classroom is stalled right now in the North Carolina state house. It's called the school violence protection act and it's supported by a number of organizations, including the Girl Scouts, but many Christian conservatives are strongly opposed to the bill because of some wording.

The bill specifically mentions sexual orientation as a characteristic of who may be likely to be bullied. So it comes down to if this bill is either a way to protect children from violence, or it gives special privileges to homosexuals.

April, 2006, protestors march against a club called the Gay Straight Alliance that had hoped to form at South Rowan High School. While the protests were loud, there was no violence. Eventually the school board ruled that clubs based on sexual orientation had no business in Rowan-Salisbury schools.

Now sexual orientation is at the center of another battle, this time statewide.

Rev. Buddy Hoffner, Bible Missionary Baptist Church said, "I think the bullying law whould be the same across the board, no matter who you bully, a bully is a bully."

Many conservative christians are fighting to stop House Bill 1366 from ever coming into your child's classroom. Its sponsors say the intent is simply to protect children from bullying. A local coordinator with the group Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays agrees, pointing out that the bill is supported by groups like the NAACP and the Girl Scouts. In an email, Mike Clawson says legislators need to remove their blinders of discrimination, and that all children are in danger of being bullied.

But the bill specifically mentions sexual orientation, leading many to believe that if a bully attacks a homosexual, he'll receive a greater punishment than for bullying a heterosexual child, and many say that's wrong.

"There should be no law that you get worse punishment for one than another," according to Hoffner.

We talked to Amy Foster, whose son has been bullied in school, not because of any sexual orientation, but she agrees with the bill as is it now written, saying some students are bullied for that very reason. "Yes, they would be bullied for it, but that's on them," she said. 

If passed, each public school system in the state would be required to put into place training and policies designed to educate staff and students about the new bullying law.

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