Anti-Bullying Teachers Unions Get Pushy for Better Pay and Benefits

Kyle Olson

3/1/2012 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson

Bullying has always been a problem in American government schools. Statistics say there are over 2 million bullies lurking in the hallways and on playgrounds.

The two national teachers unions have developed expansive programs to curb bullying. They’ve hosted entire conferences on the matter. The National Education Association has published several web pages to the matter, as has the American Federation of Teachers.

As an aside, I am troubled by the recent focus on bullying. Bullying is a problem – yes. But the threshold of “bullying” has dropped significantly to the point where virtually any disagreement or conflict in personal or religious beliefs constitutes bullying.

A classic case occurred in Michigan. A Howell High School teacher wore “a purple shirt in solidarity with bullies LGBT youth.” When a student objected to homosexuality on religious grounds – without ever intimidating or “bullying” anyone – the teacher argued with the student and ended up getting him suspended.

But what happens when the anti-bullying activists become the bullies? Will they live by their own standards? Naturally, the answer is no.

Education Action Group recently reported on two different cases of intimidation – dare I say bullying, by the union’s definition – involving teachers.

“That concern was raised at a Danville [IL] school board meeting last night by parent and school board member Gina McGuire, who alleges her high school-aged son was ‘harassed’ by a teacher over comments McGuire made on a social media website.

“According to McGuire, her son’s teacher attempted to detain him after class and pepper him with personal questions.

“’He wanted to know my son’s opinion of teachers and what teachers are paid,’ McGuire said, according to Commercial-News.com. ‘Why would you single out a child and ask him that? He didn’t understand what was going on.’”

The union is reportedly engaged in contract negotiations and McGuire has publicly been critical of the process.

Here’s another example:

“Last week, members of the Delsea [NJ] Education Association spent part of their Valentine’s Day picketing outside the home of school board president Mario Christina for a larger pay increase.

“Christina wasn’t home at the time, but his daughter was. Several of the picketers were also the girl’s teachers, according to NJ.com.”

Another board member was quoted as saying, “If we are talking about a percentage point or two on a contract that would drive someone in the union leadership to think it’s OK to go to someone’s home, I would have to question that someone like that is teaching our kids. I would have concerns about other decisions these teachers would make.”

And who can forget the crème dela crème? Last October, Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, launched into a personal attack on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, mocking his lisp.

Yes, these are the very same people that have the gall to lecture America about bullying. The reality is they are the ones to use bullying and intimidation to get their way at the bargaining table. They are the ones who dismiss any difference of opinion – be it personal, political, religious or otherwise – as bullying by the opposing view.

Bullying will become the new racism in that it will be the hand grenade tossed into the crowd that makes debate and civil disagreement more difficult to embrace. It will be another mechanism by which to force the surrender of anyone disagreeing with their agenda, for fear of being labeled a “bully.”