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Religious Right Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for LGBTI Students
by PFAW Repost
Thursday Jun 26th, 2014 4:40 AM
The religious right is trying to protect bullies that instigate with LGBTI students, claiming that the rights of the bullies to express themselves freely is being infringed. Instead of trying to make peace with students of different sexual orientations the religious right wishes to further increase suicide and violence in schools by becoming enablers of hostile bullies. The protectors of bullies will have more blood on their hands as school suicide and violence isn't getting better, now this pro-bullying campaign by the religious right is making the situation even worse.
entire article here;

Big Bullies: How the Religious Right is Trying to Make Schools Safe for Bullies and Dangerous for Gay Kids


"Students deserve an education that is free from bullying and harassment, and in many districts parents, teachers, principals, community members and students are working together to create a safe and welcoming environment for all children. Bullying can impede learning and ruin lives. As Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said, “bullying is doubly dangerous because if left unattended it can rapidly escalate into even more serious violence and abuse.” Close to nine in ten Americans believe that bullying is a “serious problem,” and many communities are directly challenging harassment and violence in schools.

However, many Religious Right activists want to derail efforts to combat bullying. An increasing number of conservative leaders and organizations have fiercely opposed anti-bullying programs developed by schools and education groups for the sole reason that such programs identify and attempt to combat the widespread bullying of LGBT youth.

Rather than recognize and address the problem of bullying against students who are gay or perceived to be gay, Religious Right groups want schools to embrace a policy of inaction. Many resort to repeating discredited lies about sexual orientation and vilifying the LGBT community and its allies to back up their opposition to anti-bullying programs that mention anti-gay bullying. Concerned students, families, teachers, education professionals, and public officials should not be fooled by the far-right’s attempt to smear anti-bullying programs, and should instead ensure that schools address bullying with a direct, honest and comprehensive approach.

Facing the Problem

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, and those perceived to be LGBT, encounter unique problems at school. LGBT youth are often not open about their sexual orientation to their families or friends, who are often an important support network for young people who are bullied. In many cases these children even face hostility from their families, other students, and school officials because of their sexual orientation.

The bullying of LGBT students has become a full-scale crisis: the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s 2009 National School Climate Survey found that close to 85% of LGBT students reported harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and nearly 20% reported “being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.” GLSEN found that peers and school officials frequently dismiss or mistreat LGBT youth who seek out help. According to GLSEN, more than six in ten LGBT students “reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation,” and LGBT youth were far more likely than other students to miss class or school “because of safety concerns.” Not only does bullying damage academic and social prospects and emotional wellbeing, it has also contributed to dramatically higher rates of homelessness and suicide among gay and lesbian youth.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center reported in 2008 that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth “are nearly one and a half to three times more likely to have reported suicidal ideation” and “nearly one and a half to seven times more likely than non-LGB youth to have reported attempting suicide.”

“It would be difficult to overstate the impact of stigma and discrimination against LGBT individuals in the United States,” the researchers said, adding that “stigma and discrimination are directly tied to risk factors for suicide.”

Just in the past month, numerous stories have emerged about the harassment gay and gay-perceived youth face every day at schools. A North Carolina girl who was president of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club was physically attacked by a fellow student, and the school failed to conduct a serious investigation; a gay Wisconsin teenager encountered death threats but received no support from his school or law enforcement; a gay Florida student’s teacher openly mocked and criticized his sexual orientation in class; and a California teacher “drew an ‘S’ on a student’s hand and repeatedly referred to the student, who was wearing a T-shirt that read ‘Gay is Good,’ as a sinner throughout class.”

But Religious Right groups demand that schools deliberately ignore the harassment of gay and gay-perceived students, and believe schools should pay no attention to anti-gay bullying when formulating bullying reduction plans. This resistance to building an amicable and nonthreatening environment for LGBT youth in schools has its origins in right-wing conspiracies about the gay community and the education system.


Blaming the Victims

In one of the crudest aspects of the Religious Right’s desperate efforts to block schools from putting anti-bullying programs in place, many right-wing activists are suggesting that the LGBT community should be blamed for bullying. Their stigmatizing and demonizing rhetoric only exacerbates problems by making bullies feel justified when they torment their gay peers while pushing gay youth on a path of shame, depression, and self-hatred.

AFA’s Bryan Fischer blames LGBT suicides on gays and lesbians who allegedly “recruit” students through “brainwashing” in school. “I’m suggesting that adults that pressure these students to declare a disordered sexual preference when they are too young to know better, that they share some culpability for those who take their life,” Fischer explains, “it would be just like an adult encouraging a young student to experiment with injection drug abuse.”

Barber of Liberty Counsel maintains that gay youth commit suicide because they intuitively know what they are doing is “immoral.” Barber claimed:

“Kids who are engaging in homosexual behavior often look inward and know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, is immoral, and so they become depressed and the instances of suicide can rise.”

FRC’s Perkins wrote in the Washington Postthat gay rights groups are “exploiting [youth suicide] tragedies to push their agenda.” He said that the gay rights community is to blame for cases of suicide among gay teenagers, rather than the people who condemn and attack them:

Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal--yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are ‘born gay’ and can never change. This--and not society's disapproval--may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide.

Like Perkins, Barb Anderson of the Minnesota Family Council suggested that safe school organizations such as GLSEN “are creating an environment where these children that are sexually confused suddenly become affirmed as a homosexual or that they are born that way, and then these kids are locked into a lifestyle with their choices limited, and many times this can be disastrous to them as they get into the behavior which leads to disease and death in some cases.”

Linda Harvey of Mission America said that LGBT students feel “utterly hopeless” after undergoing a process of “cruel sexual manipulation.” “As the supporters of homosexuality nudge kids into a known risky behavior,” Harvey said, “they simultaneously suppress, marginalize or mischaracterize traditional views that discourage homosexuality.”

Proponents of discredited ex-gay “reparative” therapy believe that rather than addressing anti-gay bullying, schools and society should stop tolerating and affirming LGBT students and instead encourage them to alter their sexual orientation.

Focus on the Family’s True Tolerance campaign launched what it calls a “Day of Dialogue” to challenge GLSEN’s April 15 “Day of Silence,” an existing program designed to allow students to bring awareness to the issue of bullying targeting gay and lesbian students.. On the “Day of Dialogue,” taking place on April 18, Focus encourages high school and college students to speak to their peers about their opposition to gay rights. According to Jim Daly, head of Focus on the Family, the Day of Dialogue is needed because students who oppose gay rights face a “discouraging” environment and “one-sided” views on sexual orientation.

The Day of Dialogue is the successor to the “Day of Truth,” which was founded by the Alliance Defense Fund and then led by the “ex-gay” ministry Exodus International. One of the Day of Dialogue’s top coordinators is Jeff Johnston, a prominent “ex-gay” activist and past director of Exodus, who sees the Day of Dialogue as an opportunity to encourage students to help those who are “messed up sexually” and for gay students to take “the road out of homosexuality.”


Identifying, addressing, and tackling the problem of anti-gay bullying is an essential part of any bullying prevention program.

The Religious Right’s staunch opposition to comprehensive anti-bullying programs is symptomatic of the movement’s opposition to any recognition of the rights and dignity of LGBT people. The movement’s efforts to block anti-bullying programs by perpetuating groundless myths of indoctrination, special rights, and reparative therapy should be rejected by school officials and other policymakers.

Ignoring the clear signs of bullying directed towards gay and gay-perceived students does more than perpetuate the problem and lend undeserved credibility to Religious Right attacks on LGBT people and their allies. It undermines the creation of safe and welcoming schools, and puts the well-being and the very lives of American students at risk."

BTW - Bullying in schools isn't just towards gay students, anyone different can be targeted by bullies. Though this went on for decades prior to Columbine, the recent school shootings and cyberbully suicides on the internet have brought this issue to the forefront. Bullying is considered enforced social conformity, the "normal" kids target the "different" kids as the minority group. This could be for racial, religious, sexual orientation (perceived or real), size (too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny, etc...), wearing glasses (geek, nerd, etc...) and countless other reasons of difference.

What happened decades prior to Columbine was that bullied kids often "went quietly into the night" and were never heard from again. Shamed of suicide (by religion) prevented families from discussing the loss of their loved one openly. Those who were able to survive bullying remained closeted and buried the feelings to get by, though often suffered from stress related illnesses in their adult life.

If bullying in schools isn't addressed in a responsible manner, and officials do not recognize their inability to enforce this when contradicted by religious extremists, there will be more Columbines to come. We cannot expect youth to "go quietly into the night" as in days of old. The message is to stop bullying or allow students who do not fit in to be home schooled or have other schools specific for bullied students.

If bullied students are forced to attend schools with their bullies as Noel Estevez (perceived gay) was in NYC, then we will certainly witness more violence and bloodshed in schools.

Adults should have more compassion for teenagers and those younger who suffer through bullying in schools and often develop mental health problems that may last into adulthood. Any wonder why so many adult criminals have a history of either being bullied or were bullies themselves? This bullying also creates "aggressive victims" or "bully/victim" who are extremely unstable and describe the two Columbine shooters as well as others.

Some simple advice to avoid "piling your teens' bodies up to the sky";

Religious folks need to treat their faith based beliefs like their genitals; Do NOT display them in public (including schools!) and do NOT shove them down you children's throats.

If this simple advice isn't followed, the result will be a continuation of already existing violent suicides as emotionally stressed bullied teens are forced to take matters into their own hands. There are no adults in the room at the public schoolhouse, so what does anyone expect?

"Load up on guns, bring your friends..."

by no bad apples here!
Thursday Jun 26th, 2014 6:19 AM
The initial FBI blame was on the Columbine shooters, labeling them as "Bad Apples", where did we hear that phrase repeated later on?

(D. Rumsfeld minimizing widespread torture of detainees during Iraq invasion. "Just a few bad apples")

Reality is more complex and blaming the shooters as "bad apples" ignores the culture of athlete dominance and favoritism. Bullying is a means to enforce social conformity and is intentionally ignored by school authorities, some of whom often participate in shaming students who are different. The adults in the room, yeah right!

here's the background on the bad apples vs. vinegar barrel theory;

"A painstaking investigative report by the Washington Post describes pre-massacre Columbine as filled with social vinegar. The high school was dominated by a "cult of the athlete."3 In this distorted environment, a coterie of favored jocks—who wore white hats to set themselves apart—consistently bullied, hazed, and sexually harassed their classmates while receiving preferential treatment from school authorities.

Other students hated the abuses of the "steroid poster boys" but could do little. A former student testified, "Pretty much everyone was scared to take them on; if you said anything, they'd come after you, too."4

Here is more of what the Post found was going on at Columbine:

Bullying was rampant and unchecked. For instance, a father told Post reporters about two athletes mercilessly bullying his son, a Jew, in gym class. They sang songs about Hitler, pinned the youngster to the ground, did "body twisters" on him until he was black-and- blue, and even threatened to set him on fire. The father reported the bullying to the gym teacher, but it continued. When the father took his complaint to the guidance counselor, he said, he was told, "This stuff can happen." The outraged father had to complain to the school board to get relief for his son.

Athletes convicted of crimes were neither suspended from games nor expelled from school. The homecoming king, a star football player, was on parole for burglary yet still permitted to play. Columbine's state wrestling champ was allowed to compete despite being on court-ordered probation, and school officials did nothing when he regularly parked his $100,000 Hummer all day in a fifteen-minute parking space.

Sexual harassment by athletes was common and ignored. For example, when a girl complained to her teacher that a football player was making lewd comments about her breasts in class, the teacher, also a football and wrestling coach, suggested she change her seat. When an athlete loudly made similar comments at a Columbine wrestling match, the girl complained to the coach. He suggested she move to the other side of the gym. Finally, the girl complained to a woman working at a concession stand, who called police. The next day a school administrator tried to per suade the girl's mother to drop the charges, telling her that press ing them would prevent the boy from playing football. When the youngster was found guilty, he still was permitted to play.

How important were these injustices to Harris and Klebold? Did they care about them, or even know about them? They both knew and they cared. In fact, the Post reports that dozens of interviews and court records alike show that the pair's homicidal anger ". . . began with the injustices of the jocks."5

They became convinced that favored athletes could get away with anything. For instance, a close friend reported that the pair saw a star athlete, in front of a teacher, forcefully shove his girlfriend into a locker. The teacher did nothing. Such injustices enraged Harris and Klebold. That's why, just before opening fire in the cafeteria, they demanded that all the jocks stand up. They planned to kill them first.

In sum, pre-massacre Columbine High seems to have been the kind of place that "will always transform sweet cucumbers into sour pickles."

While a few bad apples might spoil the barrel (filled with good fruit/people), a vinegar barrel will always transform sweet cucumbers into sour pickles—regardless of the best intentions, resilience, and genetic nature of the cucumbers. So does it make more sense to spend resources to identify, isolate, and destroy bad apples or to understand how vinegar works. . . ? —Phillip Zimbardo

Vinegar at Work

The fact that Harris and Klebold were social outcasts made them especially conspicuous targets for abuse. Social psychological research reveals that not fitting in is costly. Group members typically first try to persuade those holding minority opinions or who are otherwise different to conform to group standards. But if individuals still fail to conform, social rejection follows: nonconformists typically are ostracized as social pariahs.

That is precisely what happened to Harris and Klebold. Both notorious nonconformists, they definitely did not fit in. As one Columbine student observed,"They didn't look like other people," and "They didn't dress or act like other people."8 Consequently, they became social outcasts and victims, deeply resentful of their marginality and outraged by their subsequent victimization.

Harris and Klebold were peripheral members of just one group: the so-called "Trench Coat Mafia." (The leading athletes assigned this name to a loose collection of the school's non-athletic social outcasts who had taken to wearing black—most markedly long black—trench coats.) Predictably, the athletes regarded these conspicuous rebels as especially legitimate targets for abuse, and Harris and Klebold got more than their share. Once, for instance, they were standing outside the school with a friend when a carload of athletes went by and a passenger threw a bottle at them. It smashed at their feet. The friend recalls Klebold saying, "Don't worry, man, it happens all the time."9

Harris and Klebold's marginalization and subsequent maltreatment were major factors in the massacre. Their powerlessness in the face of this favored clique's illegitimate authority, psychological abuse, physical intimidation, and sexual harassment sparked a profound desire for revenge. As one student told a Post reporter, "They just let the jocks get to them. I think they were taunted to their limits."10

Eventually their rage led to a plan to strike back at their tormentors. That, in turn, morphed into a scheme for indiscriminate mass murder in a school they had come to loathe.

Discovering and Modifying Causal Networks

None of our exploration is meant to excuse Harris or Klebold. As Zimbardo observes,

Acknowledging the power of situational forces does not excuse the behaviors channeled by their operation. Rather, it provides a knowledge base to shift attention away from simplistic "blaming of the victim," and ineffective individualistic treatments designed to change the evildoer, toward more profound attempts to discover causal networks that should be modified.11

That is the primary task of educators charged with containing school violence. They must discover and modify its causal networks. Years ago a pioneer social psychologist, Solomon Asch, incisively observed, "Most social acts have to be understood in their setting, and lose meaning if isolated. No error in thinking about social facts is more serious than the failure to see their place and function."12 Nevertheless, that is precisely the blunder the FBI fell into.

No matter how seductive they might seem, it is generally unwise to trust bad-apple explanations of school violence."

whole article;

Religion uses shame and guilt inducing methods to enforce conformity to their prescribed norms based upon their faith. Forcing these norms on others based upon some obscure passage in religious texts is a violation of the civil rights and liberties of ALL students as each family's religious beliefs are up to them. The homophobia in many organized religions cannot enter into the public spectrum without violating the civil rights and liberties of other students.

background of shame vs. self-esteem spectrum;

"Shame is the most potent and concerning emotion related to bullying and the centerpiece of the emotional system that drives the three actions of bullying:

• taking Advantage of power
• using Aggression
• and Accepting mistreatment

Shame places people at risk both for being targeted and for engaging in bullying. And according to psychiatrist James Gilligan: “Shame is the primary or ultimate cause of all violence”. So, again, according to Gilligan: “What is most needed is a non-violent means to protect or restore self-esteem.”

Institutional environments like prison (and public schools) are massively shaming. They crush individual identity, creativity and self expression in the name of “order” (convenience of the management).

The least tolerated trait is not laziness or poor performance but non-conformity. And, the most valued human trait is neither innovation nor excellence, but conformity.

bullying shunning. The depersonalization of massive and enforced conformity is eroding to self esteem and a healthy sense of personal identity. In schools, we teach children about the Constitution – and all the high principles that they are not worthy of because their rights and human dignity are secondary to the “need” for conformity and compliance. They don’t have rights to free expression, or privacy, or security in their persons or possessions, or due process, or to refrain from incriminating themselves.

They are forced to memorize and repeat the list of rights and ideals by which our society counts itself better than others. Then, we both tell and show them they are unworthy to share in those protections – in most cases, merely because we find it convenient – and we have the power."