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Old 26th February 2013, 05:51 PM   #41
TragicMonkey
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Would anyone in favor of allowing the kid to wear that shirt change their mind if there were a lot of kids wearing that shirt? Like, 90% of the students wearing it?
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Old 26th February 2013, 05:54 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Would anyone in favor of allowing the kid to wear that shirt change their mind if there were a lot of kids wearing that shirt? Like, 90% of the students wearing it?
Nope. It makes no difference. Words on a shirt are still just words on a shirt.

Next question:

Would you find it offensive if you were illiterate, or if it was in Russian and you didn't know what it meant?

My point is: It's just symbolism. As such, it is not an actual solid threat of any sort. You can't ban ideas. They will be popular or not despite any use of force. Whether people put it on the front of a t-shirt or not has absolutely nothing to do with whether they think such things or have such feelings. The important part is that you offer a more rational view... and like I've implied, it should be seen as an opportunity for discourse, rather than as some sort of enemy assault. The kid offered his honest opinion and apparently wants a discussion on the subject. Indulge him and discuss. Rational people will usually take the more rational side of the argument. A use of force is not rational, in this case. It's a misuse of authority, since the kid has done nothing more than express an opinion, and in a relatively quiet way, I might add. It's just an image on a shirt.

Don't fear mere ideas and opinions. Let them out in the open for examination. Suppressing them will have the opposite effect of what you intend. A person won't change his mind if you don't listen to his side of it and attempt to understand why he thinks the way he does.

That's sort of what we're doing here in this forum, BTW; although sometimes people resort to rather questionable methods even here.

(off topic note-to-self) My compulsive editing would be much less compulsive if I weren't so fond of ellipses when writing intuitively. I've really got to stop that (yeah, I'm a perfectionist to the point of OCD).

Last edited by Manopolus; 26th February 2013 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 26th February 2013, 05:56 PM   #43
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Freedom of speech or expression doesn't really apply to students. I mean think of the teacher-student dynamic if the student really has free speech and expression. It wouldn't work. It is a disciplinary setting and you can get punished for insubordination and being disruptive. In my school you couldn't wear anything controversial, particularly anything that implied sex or used swear words. They would probably tell this kid to change his shirt. High school isn't a place to have heated political and social debates or make such statements. The school should just nip this thing in the bud.
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Old 26th February 2013, 05:57 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
Nope. It makes no difference. Words on a shirt are still just words on a shirt.

Next question:

Would you find it offensive if you were illiterate, or if it was in Russian and you didn't know what it meant?
Of course it makes a difference. If 90% of a student body is going around wearing anti gay t shirts, it disrupts the environment of learning and should not be tolerated. Simple as that.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:04 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
There's a difference between banning speech and banning speech during school. Public school officials are charged with keeping children safe and providing them an education. Anything that makes violence more likely or distracts other children to the point where it interferes with their education should be prohibited.
Absolutely agree that schools are about education. There are other types of education/knowledge that students should learn while in this environment. Specifically "life skills" which include interpersonal skills, psychological skills like coping, compromise/acceptance, embracing diversity, etc.

I believe that we can do ourselves, children & young adults a disservice by choosing the incorrect policies. I can't tell from the article whether this is primary or secondary. Obviously more and more freedom is given as students mature.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:04 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
Disclosure: big gay here....and an educator.
Serious? Well, slap my ass and call me Sally.....wait, nevermind, don't do that!

I think along the same lines as you do. If it gore, violence, or foul language, no go.

But if someone wants to wear a "I support gay marriage" or "I support straight marriage" whatever. Not a big deal. Freedom of expression is important (IMO) to middle and high school kids. A sense of individuality is good too.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:10 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
Nope. It makes no difference. Words on a shirt are still just words on a shirt.

Next question:

Would you find it offensive if you were illiterate, or if it was in Russian and you didn't know what it meant?

My point is it's just symbolism... as such, it is not an actual solid threat of any sort. You can't ban ideas... they will be popular or not despite any use of force. Whether people put it on the front of a t-shirt or not has absolutely nothing to do with whether they think such things or have such feelings. The important part is that you offer a more rational view... and like I've implied, it should be seen as an opportunity for discourse, rather than as some sort of enemy assault.
I think it might be different if one student wore a shirt with an anti-gay slogan on it, and 1900 in a school of 2000 wore that shirt. It wouldn't be one bad apple, it would be a hostile environment.

You can be idealistic about "it's just words!" but words have an effect. That's why they are used. The effect should be considered. If I tell my classmates "I have a donkey in my backpack!" it has one effect, if I tell my classmates "I have a gun in my backpack!" it has another, and if I tell them "I have the cut-of eyelids of your whore mother in my backpack!" it has yet another. Should I expect the same consequences/lack of consequences from all three statements?
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:22 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by triforcharity View Post
Serious? Well, slap my ass and call me Sally.....wait, nevermind, don't do that!

I think along the same lines as you do. If it gore, violence, or foul language, no go.

But if someone wants to wear a "I support gay marriage" or "I support straight marriage" whatever. Not a big deal. Freedom of expression is important (IMO) to middle and high school kids. A sense of individuality is good too.
Don't worry, Alt-F4 is female.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:26 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Ban them all might be the best. I still like to think some rule about "Intent to malign some group" could be possible and ideal. I'd like to see some degree of freedom of expression, even if it's messy and imperfect and often unfair.
Although this rule apparently doesn't apply if the group is Xian whites.

ps. Judging from the results of votes taken to date on gay marriage, quite a number of people are offended by pro-gay signs, slogans, demonstrations, etc,
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:34 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Cinnamon Life View Post
Of course it makes a difference. If 90% of a student body is going around wearing anti gay t shirts, it disrupts the environment of learning and should not be tolerated. Simple as that.
Apparently you didn't read the rest. You certainly didn't take it into consideration, anyway.

It's only disruptive if your agenda is way more strict than it should be. Have the needed discussion, and then it becomes easy to pointedly ignore it if it continues, because everyone has had their say on the matter -- discussion over. If you can't agree, then agree to disagree... either works just fine in defusing the matter.

Anyway, just to put the period on my point, I'm done with this subject/thread.

Last edited by Manopolus; 26th February 2013 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:41 PM   #51
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Some of the posts here that are pro-total free speech are making me really start to lean towards thinking banning everything controversial might be better.

"Words on a shirt" can also be a form of bullying, IMO.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:41 PM   #52
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I agree with the sentiment that if they allow one, they have to allow the other. If the other is so offensive that they can't tolerate it, ban them both.

I wonder if cases like this make the ACLU regret doing what they do or if they can completely separate their opinions from their job. I am just imagining a bunch of lawyers sitting at an oval table and no one volunteering to take the case defending the anti-gay kid.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:45 PM   #53
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I think they defended the Klan one time due to their "right to assemble" being crapped on by some town.

IMO, the ACLU should follow the same creed as the discussion here. If you defend the pro if you feel their rights are being violated, gotta defend the antis too.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:45 PM   #54
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I have no problem with the kid wearing the shirt.

Quote:
The ACLU said Groody wore the shirt April 20, which was designated as a day of awareness of harassment toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The shirt certainly did raise awareness of harassment. "Hey look everyone! Here's a living example."

That said, I also have no problem with the school deciding that the kid shouldn't wear the shirt. They have the right to make that decision.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:45 PM   #55
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Are the pro-total freedom of speech people in this thread also pro-hate-speech t shirts in school?

Like, really badly racist shirts that don't advocate violence, but use racial slurs?
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:46 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
I think they defended the Klan one time due to their "right to assemble" being crapped on by some town.

IMO, the ACLU should follow the same creed as the discussion here. If you defend the pro if you feel their rights are being violated, gotta defend the antis too.
The ACLU still does support the KKK's right to say whatever they want and rally, afaik. Which I'm ok with, but not in schools.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:48 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by Lowpro View Post
I think the shirt's fine though I don't know if, down the road, he or she will be proud to be known as "that prick with the prick-shirt".

Exactly that.

But for more detail:

Either ban all the shirts with messages or none (except, of course, those with clearly illegal threats).

Therefore I have to ask myself, did the shirt in the OP contain not only a clear threat, but an illegal one? I would have to say no.
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:51 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Are the pro-total freedom of speech people in this thread also pro-hate-speech t shirts in school?

Like, really badly racist shirts that don't advocate violence, but use racial slurs?
nope, but I think they shouldn't allow any shirts that are about politics, religion or causes. This way they can avoid the problem altogether.

to further address your point though. I think there has been a caveat of "no swear words, hate words or gore...etc"

you shirt can say "I don't heart gay marriage" and it's okay (or the already mentioned slash thing)

but it can't say "god hates fags" or "I hate brown people" ....etc

just as it couldn't say "Gay people *********** rock!" or " My (N-word) are the bestest ever!" lol
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Old 26th February 2013, 06:56 PM   #59
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I guess I said I was done, but maybe I was trying to be over dramatic prematurely.

Let me ask the other side of the fence this:

Is it some sort of taboo topic that we shouldn't talk about at all? If so, maybe we shouldn't allow the other side a voice either?

Perhaps that's sort of what he was complaining about in the first place, given the actual message on the shirt?

Actually, if you answered "yes" to the first question... you actually agree with the message on the shirt... but from the other side. It wasn't so much anti-gay as it was anti-talk-about-gay.

Where do you get off telling him to shut up while shoving your side of the issue into his face? That's not fair play at all.

I'll patiently await answers to these questions, and will freely acknowledge it if you answer them effectively.

Last edited by Manopolus; 26th February 2013 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:03 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
nope, but I think they shouldn't allow any shirts that are about politics, religion or causes. This way they can avoid the problem altogether.

to further address your point though. I think there has been a caveat of "no swear words, hate words or gore...etc"

you shirt can say "I don't heart gay marriage" and it's okay (or the already mentioned slash thing)

but it can't say "god hates fags" or "I hate brown people" ....etc

just as it couldn't say "Gay people *********** rock!" or " My (N-word) are the bestest ever!" lol
You're one of the more reasonable people in this thread (well, most your posts. You're being a bit flip-floppy sometimes here. lol.)

I was really wondering about the "It's just words on a shirt" and "nobody can marginalize you but you" etc people.

I think the "no around the rainbow" logo actually is very close to hate speech (the rainbow just symbolizes gay pride, not advocasy of marriage equality, per se), but weirdly, I would be fine with something that just said "I don't support gay marriage."

I would not be ok with a "no around the Christian cross" logo, either. But I also wouldn't be ok with a shirt with a quote of Leviticus 20:13.

Hmmm...
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:03 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
I think they defended the Klan one time due to their "right to assemble" being crapped on by some town.

IMO, the ACLU should follow the same creed as the discussion here. If you defend the pro if you feel their rights are being violated, gotta defend the antis too.
I agree with you but do you get what I mean? They are all for civil rights and then they have to go and defend the rights of people who are clearly anti civil rights.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:07 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
I guess I said I was done, but maybe I was trying to be over dramatic prematurely.

Let me ask the other side of the fence this:

Is it some sort of taboo topic that we shouldn't talk about at all? If so, maybe we shouldn't allow the other side a voice either?

Perhaps that's sort of what he was complaining about in the first place, given the actual message on the shirt?

Actually, if you answered "yes" to the first question... you actually agree with the message on the shirt... but from the other side. It wasn't so much anti-gay as it was anti-talk-about-gay.

Where do you get off telling him to shut up while shoving your side of the issue into his face? That's not fair play at all.

I'll patiently await answers to these questions.
As far as I've read, nobody in this thread has endorsed only selectively disallowing hate speech, as far as I can tell.

Can you give me an example of what you're referring to?
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:08 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by sgtbaker View Post
I agree with you but do you get what I mean? They are all for civil rights and then they have to go and defend the rights of people who are clearly anti civil rights.
yeah, I'm sure sometimes it has to suck. But if you want any sort of credibility to back up your name (ACLU ) then you sometimes have to hold your nose and stick up for the rights of total scumbags.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:09 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by sgtbaker View Post
I agree with you but do you get what I mean? They are all for civil rights and then they have to go and defend the rights of people who are clearly anti civil rights.
Civil rights aren't rights if they don't apply universally, regardless of whether your opinion is currently popular.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:11 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by sgtbaker View Post
I agree with you but do you get what I mean? They are all for civil rights and then they have to go and defend the rights of people who are clearly anti civil rights.
The ACLU pretty consistently defends everybody's civil rights from what I know. To an extreme. They defend everyone from NAMBLA's right to publish books, to KKK rallies, holocost denialists, to left wing extremists, etc.

Everything besides actual and immediate calls for violence is on the table for them. (And as a general rule, I agree with them, even when I hate the people they defend. The rule of law in the US is generally that everything but calls for immediate mob violence is still supposed to be legal?)
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:13 PM   #66
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Did the kid in question ever explain his views? I mean the shirt is one thing but a shirt doesn't necessarily tell you why he or she may not approve of gays (assuming that's the message the shirt's conveying).

Has the kid made a statement verbally or is the shirt all that they wish to state?
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:14 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
As far as I've read, nobody in this thread has endorsed only selectively disallowing hate speech, as far as I can tell.

Can you give me an example of what you're referring to?
The shirt itself clearly suggested that there is such a thing as "too much free speech" regarding gay rights.

Doesn't it seem ironic to you that a school responds by forcibly removing that message?

They silenced him by resorting to his methods... basically proving his point in a way. They effectively told him to shut up... which is exactly what he was suggesting to do to those he found objectionable.

I can't explain it any better than that. If you don't get it, I guess you just don't get it.

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Old 26th February 2013, 07:15 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
Civil rights aren't rights if they don't apply universally, regardless of whether your opinion is currently popular.
This is what the ACLU believes.

I'm not sure this should apply to schools, though.

For kids especially, freedom of speech can very much be the same thing as bullying.
(The same thing can apply to adults to a lesser extent, too, but what else can you do/allow if you want a free society?)
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:17 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
The shirt itself clearly suggested that there is such a thing as "too much free speech" regarding gay rights.

Doesn't it seem ironic to you that a school responds by forcibly removing that message?

They silenced him by resorting to his methods... basically proving his point in a way. They basically told him to shut up... which is exactly what he was trying to do to the other side.
I'm still not following you. Sorry.

Can you try explaining your point one more time?
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:17 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
This is what the ACLU believes.

I'm not sure this should apply to schools, though.

For kids especially, freedom of speech can very much be the same thing as bullying.
(The same thing can apply to adults to a lesser extent, too, but what else can you do/allow if you want a free society?)

which is why most schools (that I have experienced anyway) have either gone to uniforms or have pretty specific info about wearing shirts with divisive or controversial themes/content.

Makes it easier on everybody really.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:22 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
yeah, I'm sure sometimes it has to suck. But if you want any sort of credibility to back up your name (ACLU ) then you sometimes have to hold your nose and stick up for the rights of total scumbags.
You know that's what they do, right?

(Or did one of us misread the OP? )

During the Bush years, the ACLU got a rep as some sort of left wing organization, but they're really not. See:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/us...klan.html?_r=0

The ACLU just ALSO defends left wing freedom of speech.

They're really incredibly consistent defending everyone from moderates to extremists on both ends of the political spectrum.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:26 PM   #72
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Yeah I know, I was answering sgtbaker and the comment about "how it must be hard to defend people you disagree with vehemently or are abhorrent in their beliefs"

The ACLU has a spotty history here and there, but overall they have been pretty darn consistent. (but it's run by people, and people aren't perfect ,so that's to be expected)
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:26 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
which is why most schools (that I have experienced anyway) have either gone to uniforms or have pretty specific info about wearing shirts with divisive or controversial themes/content.

Makes it easier on everybody really.
Yeah.
It is easiest, and doesn't really hamper anyone's development too much, IME. (Although I wish a ban on hate speech, period, was just the line drawn. But yeah, to some elements, just a shirt that said "Atheism - being good for goodness sake" would be -pho-interpreted as "hate speech."

Yay for debate club, I guess? Maybe that's a better venue in school for allowing kids to hash this stuff out?
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:28 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
This is what the ACLU believes.

I'm not sure this should apply to schools, though.

For kids especially, freedom of speech can very much be the same thing as bullying.
(The same thing can apply to adults to a lesser extent, too, but what else can you do/allow if you want a free society?)
It's actually better to concentrate our efforts on teaching better social skills to those being bullied than it is on forcibly stopping the bullies. Victims aren't picked at random.

Also, educating the students about bullying does a lot more than simply forcing them to stop it when observed (which does nothing when an adult isn't present -- if anything, it makes things worse). A lot of the time, the bullies thinks it's a harmless joke and that the victim is overreacting... they don't even consider themselves bullies in a most cases.

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Old 26th February 2013, 07:28 PM   #75
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I think college and your 20's is the best place for hashing that stuff out. Being a teenager is tough enough as it is without trying to be che guevara
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:31 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Manopolus View Post
It's actually better to concentrate our efforts on teaching better social skills to those being bullied than it is on forcibly stopping the bullies. Victims aren't picked at random.

Also, educating the students about bullying does a lot more than simply forcing them to stop it when observed.
Well.

I just really disagree with a lot of your philosophy.

I don't want to get sent to AAH, so Imma gonna disengage now.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:31 PM   #77
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Just two cents here:

a buddy teaches at a local high school, and the kids can't wear ballcaps, do-rags, shirts with anything written on them, no logos.

There are no inflammatory messages allowed. Not even homecoming "our team yay, their team nay".
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:33 PM   #78
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If the school isn't prepared to ban all political speech, and it isn't prepared to do that, it's going to have to allow all non-threatening political speech. Otherwise, its position is untenable.
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:36 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by StankApe View Post
I think college and your 20's is the best place for hashing that stuff out. Being a teenager is tough enough as it is without trying to be che guevara
Hmm...

Anecdote warning: starting in 7th grade, I really found a forum (school debate club/class) for rationally laying out the reasoning behind my opinions useful. I went to a really crazycakes little Christian private school, tho. Actually, my anecdotal experience was pretty unusual in a lot of ways (living with rainbow family by 16, married by 19 and still happily married, etc.)
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Old 26th February 2013, 07:37 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
Well.

I just really disagree with a lot of your philosophy.

I don't want to get sent to AAH, so Imma gonna disengage now.
It's not philosophy... it's social psychology. I could look up some references to give you if you'd like. I just assumed it was common knowledge, particularly considering I'm not a psychologist and have heard and read it over and over and over again from various sources... including with regards to my own problems of being bullied in High School (admittedly, that was over 20 years ago).

Of course, I had the advantage of being in a small enough school as to not get lost in the shuffle (graduating class of 16). With bigger class sizes, different tactics may be more necessary than I think... but I do know that an authority figure simply silencing the bully when observed does nothing to actually help the matter. It actually tends to make things worse.

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