Racist, bigot, facsist–these are terms used by the enemies of freedom to silence those with whom they disagree and those who “offend” them. The current epithet-du-jour is bully. Now, all of those words are good English words with accepted definitions, and I have no problem using them when their use is appropriate. A person who says that black people are inherently less intelligent than white people is, by definition, a racist. However, a person who says that black people should be expected to get as high a score on job placement exams as white people is not. Likewise, a person who beats up homosexual people is a bully, but a person who simply says that his religion teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin is not.
A high school student in Wisconsin has been accused of bullying for writing an unpopular editorial in the school newspaper–an editorial that opposed the adoption of children by same-sex couples. The real bullying, based on several dictionary definitions that I read has been done against the student editorialist. The school officials and one of the parents are bullying him by using their power to disgrace, discredit, and silence him. After all, he is just a lowly student expressing his viewpoint–at the paper’s invitation.
Now, if he had targeted another student and urged people to beat up that student, that might be an example of bullying–or at least incitement to bullying. If he had written nasty insults about a particular student or students, that certainly would be bullying. However, giving general remarks about a controversial issue? That simply isn’t bullying.
I have some questions, sincerely posed:
Why is this student’s editorial bullying but the opposing viewpoint is not?
What happened to the student’s First Amendment rights?
How can a educational institution take sides on a matter that the public is still debating?
Why do the school officials take upon themselves the power to endorse one student’s viewpoint and to denounce the other student’s viewpoint?
Doesn’t this approach give any offical the right to pass judgment on any speech by any student? What if a rightwing principal censored students who stood up for the rights of Muslim students or censored students who wrote an informative article about abortion?