Friday, April 27, 2012

Bullying -- Special Pleading?

Letter to the Toronto Star. Published April 27, 2012

Re Put our kids before politics, editorial, April 21:

This editorial fails to mention the legislation to which it refers. I presume reference is to Bill 13, an Act to amend the Education Act
with respect to bullying and other matters.  

Although the proposed amendment speaks to being "inclusive for all people, including LGBTTIQ," a careful reading leaves the impression its main, if not sole, purpose is for this sub-minority. 

Most bullying occurs because of body image -- the over-weight kid, the skinny one, the one with a skin problem, the awkward one who can't catch a ball or run fast, and so on. This major cause of bullying isn't even mentioned in Bill 13.

This leaves the impression the proposed legislation is the result of special pleading on behalf of the LGBTTIQ constituency. If not, why is it not all inclusive?

In 2006, the Toronto District School Board conducted a survey to determine the causes of bullying. The most cited reason was "body image" (38% in Grades 7 and 8) and (27 % in Grades 9 to 12), followed by "grades" (17%), "marks" (12%); "language"(7%) in all grades,"gender, religion and income" (5% or lower).  The issue of gay bullying did not register in the study. Source: The National Post, May 29, 2012.

This is reinforced by a 2012 report to the U.K. parliament which noted that more than half the British public suffered from a negative body image.  Evidence presented to a special parliamentary group suggested that appearance is the greatest cause of bullying in school.

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