ADF Launches Bullying ‘Yardstick’ to Curb LGBT-Inclusive Policies
A conservative legal group is teaming up with an anti-gay Christian organization in an attempt to restrict both proposed and existing anti-bullying policies that specifically cover gay students in public schools nationwide.
Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family have created what they refer to as a ‘Yardstick’ to judge the legality of these protections, which they say favor LGBT students at the expense of others and their First Amendment rights.
In fact, ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco says “political activist groups that promote homosexual behavior” are unlawfully “[silencing] students who want to express their biblically-based views on sexuality.”
TEDESCO: “This new Anti-Bullying Policy Yardstick helps schools identify which policies are driven by a narrow political agenda and which ones protect the First Amendment freedoms of their students.”
ADF says in order to protect ALL students, schools must adopt policies that focus on some of the following: precise definitions of bullying; exemptions for religious speech; removal of protections based on characteristics like sexual orientation; and avoidance of mandatory reporting of harassment, ESPECIALLY if it takes place OFF-campus.
But Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg tells OutQ News that—to her—these suggestions are a “dressed-up” type of homophobia.
GORENBERG: I’ve looked at this document–I frankly think that it is a repackaging of the old ‘bully is crying victim.’ And there is no reason that schools that are trying to do the right thing should let this document get in the way of making a safe environment for all their students.
Gorenberg says while bullying policies DON’T trump First Amendment protections, she believes ADF’s argument “shouldn’t hold water” in court.
Written by Xorje Olivares
September 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm