Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

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Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Monday, April 24, 2006

PICKING ON THE “BULLY BILL”

Just because something seems good, it “ain’t necessarily so.” HB422 was introduced in the House for the purported purpose of putting a halt to school bullies. Good intent. Poor legislation. The bill mandates that school districts adopt a policy that prohibits bullying, and advocates emphasizing positive character traits and values and respectful speech. OK, well duh!!

This is the kind of proposed legislation that begs for a House floor speech, and I accommodated

“Mr. Speaker:

I’m going to cast a difficult vote today against this bill, and I need to tell you why – because a vote against this bill doesn’t go along with being “politically correct.” It’s what I call one of those “feel good” bills.

Yes, I’m opposed– strongly opposed - to bullying, whether it’s bullying at work, school, or even here in the legislature. At one time or another, I’ve been subject to all these kinds of bullying, and I suspect everybody in this room could say the same. It’s an unpleasant fact of life.

But let’s talk about this bill that’s supposed to stop bullying in schools. I wish it could. If I thought it could, I’d vote for it. Bullying is a form of misbehavior – and good school districts, and good school principals, and good classroom teachers should be able to control misbehavior without this bill. If they can’t, they need to get a different job.

A lot of misbehavior problems at school – and that includes bullying – could be prevented if administrators supported their teachers. It would also help if the legislature could some day provide enough money to schools for smaller class sizes – so that teachers would have fewer students to supervise. Maybe, if we live long enough to finish the debate on oil taxes and the gas pipeline, we might actually get enough money someday for smaller classes.

As a retired teacher, I’m here to tell you that the last thing teachers need is more paperwork. Maybe if teachers could spend less time doing paperwork, and more time teaching, and more time enforcing student discipline, some of the bullying could be stopped.

Also, there’s no reason in the world why school districts, and individual schools can’t, and shouldn’t, develop their own anti-bullying programs. Let’s give them some credit. Whatever happened to local control?

Some of the testimony I’ve heard on this bill in the Education Committee was just plain silly. It was said that bullying included a coach bullying at a kid in P.E.. Good heavens! And I have to ask, how loud can a teacher be yelling at a kid to stop bullying, before the teacher is accused of bullying the bully? This bill, actually proposed by an attorney, is also a made-in-heaven deal for dubious litigation.

Once again, I’m opposed to school bullies – but this bill doesn’t fix the problem, it just makes us feel good. I respect the intent of the sponsor, but I’m voting against this bill.”

NOTE: The “Bully Bill” passed the House with the following vote:
YES: 29 NO: 7 EXCUSED: 2 ABSENT: 2 I voted “NO”

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "No" vote on this one. You are absolutely right in that it is a "feel good" bill and serves little real purpose except to distract from more important issues.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Angrymomster said...

Regardless, bullying is a major problem in our schools, and it's not just done by the children. The faculty, staff, and administration are just as guilty as the students.

I come from a long line of teachers, and there are still quite a few in my family. My best friend retired from teaching after 30 years. Every teacher I know admits to the existence of faculty, staff, and administrators who bully.

I was able to help my son get through his own experience with one because my aunt and my best friend were coaching me all the way.

4:15 PM  

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