Anti-bullying measures trumping 1st Amendment rights

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Bob Kellogg (

Since bureaucrats added 75 pages of new regulations to West Virginia's bill meant to curb cyber bullying, a family advocate says students' free speech rights are at risk.

After House Bill 3225 was passed by the state legislature, the Department of Education began adding dozens of regulations in a code titled "Expected Behavior in Safe and Supportive Schools." Jeremy Dys of The family Policy Council of West Virginia says the code puts First Amendment rights at risk.

Dys, Jeremy (WV Family Policy Council)"If censoring offensive speech is the essential means of controlling student harassment within our schools, then we have watered down what harassment and bullying actually is to the point where each is now made meaningless," he indicates.

Another problem is bureaucrats are taking away the duty of parents to instill responsible behavior in their children.

"The more authority that the state of West Virginia through its schools claims from the privileges of parents, the less that those parents will aid the affirmation of whatever responsibility the schools deem themselves responsible for, and the more parents will demand educators do what they are ill-equipped to do," Dys insists. "Teachers need to teach; parents need to parent."

Dys accounts that a number of legislators are concerned, and he hopes something will be done about this problem in the upcoming legislative session.

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