Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students’ lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed by Washington special-interest groups to be harassment of some students.
There has only been muted opposition to this far-reaching policy among the professionals and advocates in the education sector, most of whom are heavily reliant on funding and support from top-level education officials. The normally government-averse tech-sector is also playing along, and on Mar. 11, Facebook declared that it was “thrilled” to work with White House officials to foster government oversight of teens’ online activities.
The only formal opposition has come from the National School Board Association, which declined to be interviewed by The DC.
The agency’s threats, which are delivered in a so-called “Dear Colleague” letter,” have the support of White House officials, including President Barack Obama, who held a Mar. 10 White House meeting to promote the initiative as a federal “anti-bullying” policy.
The letter says federal officials have reinterpreted the civil-rights laws that require school principals to curb physical bullying, as well as racist and sexist speech, that take place within school boundaries. Under the new interpretation, principals and their schools are legally liable if they fail to curb “harassment” of students, even if it takes place outside the school, on Facebook or in private conversation among a few youths.
“Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cell phones or the Internet… it does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents [but] creates a hostile environment … [which can] limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school,” according to the far-reaching letter, which was completed Oct. 26 by Russlynn Ali, who heads the agency’s civil rights office.
School officials will face lawsuits even when they are ignorant about students’ statements, if a court later decides they “reasonably should have known” about their students’ conduct, said the statement.
Following the discovery of “harassment,” officials may have to require mandatory training of students and their families, according to the Ali letter. “The school may need to provide training or other interventions not only for the perpetrators, but also for the larger school community, to ensure that all students, their families, and school staff can recognize harassment if it recurs and know how to respond… [and] provide additional services to the student who was harassed in order to address the effects of the harassment,” said the letter.
Facebook is developing new features that will make it harder for principals to miss episodes of online “harassment,” and so will increase the likelihood of government action against the teenage users of Facebook and other social-media. “We’re adding a unique feature, developed with safety experts, that lets people also report content to someone in their support system (like a parent or teacher) who may be able to address the issue more directly,’ Facebook declared Mar. 11. “It is our hope that features like this will help not only remove the offensive content but also help people get to the root of the problem,” the company statement declared.
Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, will introduce a bill that would require schools to report incidents of bullying against children diagnosed with conditions like Down syndrome and Aspergers to the federal government. It would also mandate that any federal dollars that promote anti-bullying programs focus partially on that group.
“There is [currently] no requirement that as part of the anti-bullying curriculum, that there be made specific reference to children with special needs. That’s particularly dumb,” Speier said during a briefing on school bullying on Capitol Hill Wednesday. “What I want to do is create an environment where there is zero tolerance. I think that starts first with education and awareness. Then, when behavior is egregious, then people have to be called out on that.”
We are from the Government and we are here to save you! 😦
Who cares if little Johnny can read. He will be safe from bullies, competition, low-esteem,guns, pregnancy and sex!
We’ll teach him the history of Unions so he can stand and protest his teacher’s need for his parent’s taxpayer money and how “Greed is Good” if you’re in a Union!
Isn’t Education today wonderful! 😦
The Deficit Perspective
The White House Office of Management and Budget projects that in the current fiscal year (2011), mandatory spending alone will exceed all federal receipts. So even if we didn’t spend a single cent on discretionary programs, we still wouldn’t be able to balance our budget this year — let alone pay off any of the $14 trillion in debt that we have already accumulated.
“This technology is safe,” said Robin Kane, a TSA assistant administrator for technology. Kane emphasized that the machines are necessary to protect the public from terrorists and that they have been thoroughly tested by independent experts.
Well, if the Government says it’s “safe” it must be… 🙂
It appears Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is on board with the idea of using military-grade radar along the northern border.
But on the southern border you get to fire bean bags at Mexican Drug Cartel members!
Oh and it was the agents fault, by the way.
Border Patrol agents decided on their own to fire beanbags at a group of armed illegal immigrants in a confrontation late last year near Nogales in which an agent was killed, the agency’s commissioner said Friday.
Alan Bersin, Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said the agents’ initial use of the beanbags was not mandated by agency policy, which allows agents to determine whether to use deadly or non-deadly force based on the threat.
Agent Brian Terry died after being shot in the back in a shootout between agents and suspected border bandits Dec. 14 near Peck Canyon, outside Nogales.
Why did they have bean-bag guns to begin with? 😦
But don’t worry, the Border is more secure than ever according to Big Sis!
700 Trillion Dollars!
New calculations applied to a U.S. Senate report reveal the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to combat global warming through regulation of greenhouse gases would theoretically take over $700 trillion, seven times the world’s gross production, to drop the earth’s temperature only 1 degree Celsius.
The report released last year by Sen. James Ihnofe, R-Okla., then-ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, quotes the EPA’s own stats and experts to break down the numbers, including one researcher who called the Obama administration’s plan “absurd.”
Numbers-crunchers estimate that would amount to roughly 700 warehouses filled with $100 bills, or a stack of the bills nearly 70 miles high.
The EPA’s new regulations, which began earlier this year, are part of a “tailoring” plan that begins with requiring some of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide – such as power plants, refineries and large industrial plants – to obtain operating permits based on their greenhouse gas emissions.
Later this year, and continuing through 2016, the emissions standards will be scaled down, requiring more and more emissions sources to obtain operating permits. (WND)
Streaming Big Brother
The White House today proposed sweeping revisions to U.S. copyright law, including making “illegal streaming” of audio or video a federal felony and allowing FBI agents to wiretap suspected infringers.
After all, the oh-so outraged Democrats re-passed the Patriot Act.
Victoria Espinel, the first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator
No less than 78 percent of political contributions from Hollywood went to Democrats in 2008, which is broadly consistent with the trend for the last two decades, according to OpenSecrets.org.
And Unions give 98% of their money to Democrats.
Gee, I wonder whose in whose pocket!!
But don’t worry, the government will save little junior from those evil bullies and all other liberal identified “social problems” by spying on them and everyone else.
Gee, now don’t you feel better!