GAYNZ.COM ARCHIVED ARTICLE
Title: FF Targets Comprehensive Antibullying Efforts Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff Comment Wednesday 10th August 2016 - 3:12pm1470798720 Article: 18657 Rights
 
Wholly predictably, Family First thinks it can have a 'bob' each way, expressing concern about school bullying, while attacking LGBTI students rights to education access because they are supposedly "lobbying for a political agenda.' However, Bob McCoskrie takes other identity-based bullying issues seriously- so why not ours? When I say that I supportcomprehensiveantibullying efforts, I mean just that. I support school behavioural management programmes that proscribe all manner of identity-based bullying. Because lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people are included within the Human Rights Act 1993, and the Bill of Rights Act 1990, its equality clauses warrant that we should be included in any such comprehensive legislation- as LGBT school students are bullied on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and this encourages disengagement and diminished life opportunities for them in later life. That is why specific inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity must occur within comprehensive, identity-based antibullying legislation. Moreover, Family First is playing with fire if it thinks we haven't been steadily accumulating research from educational and developmental psychology and paediatrics to ground any such future legislative campaign. Wrong. Fortunately, however, current Key administration Education Minister Hekia Parata seems to have no great inclination to listen to Family First when it comes to issues beyond their competence. However, it is clearly also the case that other identity based constituencies have their own equally legitimate concerns about bullying based on their own discernible characteristics and that means they must also be included. I must confess to a particular stake in this- my nephew Jordan has a condition calledosteogenesisimperfecta,which leaves him with brittle bones. Any serious physical assault could have killed him when he was younger, so obviously I am willing to support the disabled community in having a similar stake in this debate, and disability is also included within the Human Rights Act and Bill of Rights Act, with a wide and expansive definition. Accordingly, I think that schools should also be required to produce detailed policies that take into account educational needs and right to nonviolent peer interactions related to physical, intellectual, psychiatric, behavioural, developmental and learning disabilities and craft specific antibullying policies that recognise that. Exactly the same applies to ethnic and religious minority students who are experiencing racist and sectarian bullying based on their cultural affiliation and faith. Such identity-based bullying clearly also has no place within New Zealand education and there should be proactive, detailed policies to deal with any state of affairs that might arise from the current Syrian and Iraqi conflicts against Muslim school students. When it comes to Maori students, they are fortunate in having a comprehensive, detailed and articulate advocacy movement of their own, supporting their linguistic and cultural needs and much the same applies to East Asian school students who experience racist bullying. As with disability, gender identity and sexual orientation, ethnicity and religious background are protected grounds under the Human Rights Act and Bill of Rights Act. There is also the question of obesity in this context. It is all too easy to be derisive or derogatory about those with high body mass index. However, at a recent social event held by the New Zealand Fat Studies Association, I was horrified to hear that fuller figured women can experience sexual harassment, hate crime and sexual assault due to fetishisation of their high body mass index. If it is happening to women with high body mass index, what about girls? For that reason, I am open to the inclusion of physical appearance as an additional criterion within the Human Rights Act and Bill of Rights Act. And no, this is not "political correctness," it is proactive policy designed to insure that specific identifiable groups of students do not get singled out on the basis of identifiable attributes and subjected to verbal, physical or other forms of intimidation as a consequence. That is why generic anti-bullying policies fail- because they are not established to deal with specific contingencies, nuances and differences that specific groups and constituencies face within their educational contexts. Having established the need for a fully and optimally comprehensive antibullying policy or policies to deal with mutiple contexts of identity based bullying, it remains to ask why Family First thinks it can get away with calling for the exclusion of sexual orientation or gender identity from any such framework. And quite frankly, the fact that Australia's Safe Schools Coalition fell victim to an orchestrated anti-LGBT populist campaign from the Australian Christian Right that was notably short on educational psychology, developmental psychology and pediatric evidence to ground their propaganda is no 'reason.' Nor is the fact that specific religious sects regard sexual orientation or gender identity as grounds for discriminatory conduct. They are quite free to ordain whoever they want and marry whoever they want, but their penumbra should not extend to integrated schools that are receiving government funding and taxpayers money- especially given that LGBT individuals are also taxpayers and citizens- quite apart from the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is prohibited under our Human Rights Act and Bill of Rights Act when it comes to employment, service provision...and education. If Bob McCoskrie wants a fight on this issue, I think he should be aware that we are quite aware of what happened in Australia too and we will rigorously fight any attempt to import Australia's antigay and antitrans moral panic against school antibullying policies across the Tasman. Not Recommended: "To the Minister of Education: Keep all students safe from bullying" Family First: 01.08.2016:https://www.familyfirst.org. nz/2016/08/to-the-minister-of- education-keep-all-students- safe-from-bullying/ Recommended: Gaynz.com has a series of articles that support the introduction and implementation of comprehensive antibullying policies: Craig Young: "Toward Antibullying Laws in New Zealand"Gaynz.Com: 01.09.2013:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/31/ article_13858.php Craig Young: "Cyberbullying: LGBT Concerns"Gaynz.Com: 21.11.2013:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/31/ printer_14220.php Craig Young: "Education Policy and LGBT Concerns"Gaynz.Com:16.07.2014:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/31/ article_15379.php "Report: Schools failing LGBT students"Gaynz.com:28.08.2014:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/2/ printer_15642.php Craig Young: "The Pro-Bullying Lobby"Gaynz.com:29.02.2016:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/31/ article_17992.php Craig Young: "Not Walking Away"Gaynz.Com:12.03.2016:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/31/ printer_18052.php Craig Young: "Still Not Walking Away" Gaynz.Com: 14.03.2016:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/31/ article_18060.php Craig Young: "The Awkward Brigade"Gaynz.Com:22.03.2016:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/31/ article_18090.php Craig Young: "What Went Wrong in Australia?" Gaynz.Com: 07.04.2016:http://www.gaynz. com/articles/publish/31/ printer_18141.php Other Constituencies: Wikipedia/Disability abuse:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Disability_abuse Anthea Lipsett: "Children bullied because of faith"Guardian: 17.11.2008:https://www. theguardian.com/education/ 2008/nov/17/bullying-faith Radhika Sanghani" "The shocking reality of racist bullying in British schools"Daily Telegraph: 05.07.2016:http://www. telegraph.co.uk/women/life/ the-shocking-reality-of- racist-bullying-in-british- schools/ Valrerie Panina: "Violence Against Fat Women: An Intersectional Analysis"The Post:1:1 (2016):https://post. lakeheadu.ca/article/view/ 1434/784 GayNZ.com Daily News staff - 10th August 2016    
 
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