NPR on bullying and religious controversies

Barbara Bradley Hagerty wrote a segment on NPR today titled,  Religious Undercurrent Ripples In Anti-Gay Bullying. Go check it out; you will recognize her interviewees and she does a nice job of covering several perspectives.

Consider Justin Anderson, who graduated from Blaine High School outside Minneapolis last year. He says his teenage years were a living hell. From sixth grade on, he heard the same taunts.

“People say things like ‘Fags should just disappear so we don’t have to deal with them anymore’ and, ‘Fags are disgusting and sinful,'” he told the Anoka-Hennepin School Board. “And still, there was no one intervening. I began to feel so worthless and ashamed and unloved that I began to think about taking my life.”

Anderson told his story at a public hearing last month — a hearing convened because in the past year, the district has seen a spate of student suicides. Four of those suicides have been linked to anti-gay bullying.

The Minnesota Family Council and Tony Perkins of the Family Reasearch Council provide their viewpoint, and I take a different view in the segment. You also hear from Sirdeaner Walker, who lost her son, Carl to bullying last year. She is a Christian who has become a board member at GLSEN.

Go check it out…

Department of Education releases bullying prevention guidance

I have no time to read the new materials coming out today but wanted to get them posted for later discussion…

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office 400 Maryland Ave., S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20202


Oct. 26, 2010

Contact: Public Affairs

(202) 401-1576


        WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Education issued guidance to support educators in combating bullying in schools by clarifying when student bullying may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws. The guidance issued today also makes clear that while current laws enforced by the department do not protect against harassment based on religion or sexual orientation, they do include protection against harassment of members of religious groups based on shared ethnic characteristics as well as gender and sexual harassment of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender individuals.

        The guidance, which comes in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to schools, colleges and universities, explains educators’ legal obligations to protect students from student-on-student racial and national origin harassment, sexual and gender-based harassment, and disability harassment. The letter provides examples of harassment and illustrates how a school should respond in each case.

        The White House and Department of Education also announced next steps to address bullying and harassment in schools.  Early next year, the White House will host a conference to raise awareness and equip young people, parents, educators, coaches and other community leaders with tools to prevent bullying and harassment.  This conference will build upon efforts led by the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies to spark a dialogue on the ways in which communities can come together to prevent bullying and harassment.

        “We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage, or an inevitable part of growing up.  It’s not,” said President Obama.  “We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. Every single young person deserves the opportunity to learn and grow and achieve their potential, without having to worry about the constant threat of harassment.”

        “Bullying is a problem that shouldn’t exist.  No one should ever feel harassed or unsafe in a school simply because they act or think or dress differently than others,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “To every student who feels threatened or harassed — for whatever reason — please know that you are not alone.  Please know that there are people who love you.  And please know that we will protect you,” Duncan continued.

        “Students cannot learn if they feel threatened or harassed,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Russlynn Ali.  “We want to keep students safe and learning, and today’s guidance will help us do that.”

        Following the release of today’s guidance, the Department plans to hold technical assistance workshops around the country in early 2011 to help educators better understand their obligations and the resources available to take prompt and effective steps that will end harassment and bullying in schools and on college campuses.

        The guidance issued today is just one of several efforts in the Department of Education’s comprehensive approach to end bullying. In 2009, the Department joined the Departments of Defense, Justice, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and the Interior to form the Obama Administrations Inter-Agency Task Force on Bullying. In August of this year, the Obama administration hosted the first ever National Bullying Summit and launched both the Stop Bulling Now campaign and, a national database of effective anti-bullying programs.

        For more information about OCR and the anti-discrimination statutes that it enforces, please visit  To review the “Dear Colleague” letter, please visit:


Ugandan Rolling Stone editor: Tabloid resumes publication on Friday (updated)

Giles Muhame, the managing editor of the Uganda tabloid, Rolling Stone, announced on his Facebook page that the paper would resume publication on Friday. Sounding defiant, Muhame said

An extraordinary meeting of The Rolling Stone management last nyt resolved we hit the streets this Friday irrespective of media council’s refusal to reconsider it’s decision of blocking our publication. We registered editor’s particulars on October15 but up to now they are “still consulting!!!” Our lawyers have given us a green light. Any attempts of confiscating the Stone will land someone in jail…YOU HAVE MY WORD..

Elsewhere, Muhame has promised that this issue will have more revelations. For instance, here in an exchange with Red Pepper publisher, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Muhame promises that the outing campaign will continue:

Arinaitwe Rugyendo Eee Giles, the homos will shaft you one of these days…i saw Rolling stone rolling all over the world Sunday at 8:26am 

Muhame Giles General…they are panicking…we have shaken their dark world…wait for this week’s issue…unveiling all the dirty secrets and faces behind a new wave of homosexuality that is spreading like wild fire….
Sunday at 8:29am

For Uganda’s LGBT community, this is an ominous development. According to Frank Mugisha, people suspected of being gay were attacked after the first issue in the Hang Them campaign hit the street.

UPDATE 10/27/10: Cliff  Abenaitwe sent this message to members of the Rolling Stone Facebook group:

This Friday, uganda’s leading investigative news paper Rolling stone will hit the streets. look out for HOMOZ part 2, latest in politics, sports, investigations,entertainment, business and much more, only in the rolling stone- LEAVING NO STONE UNTURNED.

Youth suicide in Indiana; school asks for help identifying bullying

This time the scene is Hamilton, IN and the victim is Marcus Bell, 14. The tragedy happened last week.

His father reported that he was being bullied, but there is uncertainty about the relationship to the suicide, according to this report from the Indianapolis Star.

FISHERS, Ind. — A moment of silence was held this morning at Hamilton Southeastern High School in memory of a freshman who took his own life last week.

HSE officials still aren’t releasing many details about the suicide last week of a Jamarcus “Marcus” Bell, 14, that could link the tragedy to bullying.

In a news conference this afternoon, Superintendent Brian Smith cited privacy requirements for student disciplinary records and would not say whether the district had begun an investigation into the allegations of bullying before or after Bell took his own life on Wednesday.

Smith also wouldn’t say whether Bell had ever reported being bullying to school officials.

Bell’s father, Corey Moore, has said his son was bullied recently in welding class at Hamilton Southeastern High School.

This article gives more specifics and indicates the role of bullying.

Jamarcus had been bullied repeatedly at Hamilton Southeastern High in Fishers and earlier at Fishers Junior High, Moore said. Incidents included Jamarcus being hit, punched and kicked, and the theft of his shoes and some clothing, Moore said, adding that some students even kicked over and smashed candles at a vigil set up by his friends Friday night.