"Bullying Bill" Passes Second Reading
Special Report - May 6, 2009
Late Tuesday afternoon the North Carolina State Senate gave initial approval to the so-called “Bullying Bill” that would introduce special legal protections for “alternative” sexual behaviors for the first time in state history. While SB 526School Violence Prevention Act purports to be about bullying, the bill would also codify language recognizing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as classes deserving of special legal protections for the first time in state statute. Neither of these words currently appears or is defined in North Carolina state law. A procedural move was used to block an open vote on an amendment that would have removed a list of “real or perceived” enumerated characteristics, including “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” that bill sponsors say deserve special protection in anti-bullying and harassment policies.
The North Carolina State Board of Education already has a policy in place directing that, “Each local board of education shall develop and maintain policies and procedures to prevent, intervene, investigate, document, and report all acts of harassment, bullying, or discrimination no later than January 2005.” The minutes of the July 2004 meeting at which that policy was adopted include concern by board members “about the policy being too specific with the list of categories, being consistent with the language, and being clear that … there should not be any bullying, harassment, and discrimination of any kind to any child in any school environment.” A number of senators indicated during floor debate that the specifics of the policy should be left to the local districts who know the needs of students better than lawmakers in Raleigh.
Courts in California, Connecticut, and Iowa have referenced similar bullying policies in their decisions to institute “same-sex marriage” in those states, despite the presence of marriage statutes similar to North Carolina’s.
The Senate is scheduled for a final vote on SB 526 Wednesday afternoon. If it passes, the bill will go to the House, where it passed last session.
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.