Real Answer to Bullying by Marybeth Hicks


The marching band, the tailgate parties, the chill in the air and even fireworks when the home team scored a touchdown — all the trappings of a perfect college football game created a magical parents weekend on our daughter’s university campus.

But while we mingled casually with her friends and their families, the students at Rutgers University were forced to entertain an unwelcome visitor to their campus: Grief.

Last week, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi learned he had been videoed without his knowledge while engaged in a gay sexual encounter in the privacy of his dorm room. Authorities say the videographers were his roommate, Dharun Ravi, and another student, Molly WeiMr. Raviset up a camera in the room so that he and Miss Wei could stream the video live online, police said.

Upon learning of his exploitation, Mr. Clementi sought redress through university housing authorities but apparently was emotionally unable to accept the public humiliation to which he had been subject. HisFacebook status, “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry,” conveys in its brevity his helpless desperation.

Mr. Clementi‘s tragic suicide left a heartbroken family and a bewildered community that struggles to understand why a shy, unassuming, accomplished person was the target of such a despicable invasion of privacy.

The quick and politically expedient answer is that he was gay. Public outcry from every corner —including from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and entertainer Ellen DeGeneres — has focused on the fact of his nonconforming sexuality as the reason Mr. Clementi was targeted.

In fact, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates, employing the radical left’s go-to strategy, “Never let a crisis go to waste,” point to Mr. Clementi‘s death and several other recent gay-teen suicides as proof that we must institutionalize LGBT awareness and acceptance training at every stage of a child’s education in order to prevent bullying of gay students.

But the theory — that kids will cease to belittle student of nonconforming sexuality because of early sensitivity training — will only put more teens and young adults at risk of bullying, depression and suicide. Kids don’t need to be taught about sexual preference. They need to be taught right from wrong.

I don’t believe Mr. Clementi‘s roommate and another friend invaded his privacy to stream his sexual encounter online because he was gay. Early evidence suggests both students have a history of accepting gay friends and essentially were amused by Mr. Clementi‘s sexuality.

They did it because they have no conscience.

The question we should be asking in the aftermath of this tragedy isn’t, “How can we protect gay students?” It’s, “What kind of person would do such a thing to another human being?”

Our hypersexual culture promotes sexual awareness and activity — for both gay and straight adolescents — far too soon. The far left’s insistence on comprehensive sexual education isn’t protecting children and teens, but rather is promoting the emotionally powerful experience of sex to an immature and morally inept generation. Even in some elementary schools across the nation, the left seeks to establish programs that encourage students to acknowledge homosexuality in themselves or others long before children have the maturity to do so.

Meanwhile, as revealed every two years in the Josephson Institute’s longitudinal survey of American teenagers, our nation’s youth lack the moral compass and ethical maturity to know that some behaviors are always wrong, no matter whom you target.

It’s not about gay kids being bullied. It’s about all kids learning and conforming to a societal standard of decency and civility that would result in genuine respect for others. And it’s about learning a behavior code in which the bullying of another person would be unthinkable.

If we buy into the knee-jerk reaction that what’s needed is more sexual education and greater advocacy of the gay agenda, we’re selling short all kids, gay and straight. What they need instead is character education.

The right response to this appalling episode is to halt sexuality education in favor of developing in our young people the one thing that would protect every child from heartless bullying: A conscience.

Copyright 2010 Marybeth Hicks


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  1. I very much appreciate your time in posting this and casting light on this subject that very much needs to be addressed. I must share something though. When I first heard about the tragedy my thoughts did not in any way go towards sexuality or homosexuality. In fact, I started to shake inside because I ‘knew’ what he felt, not because I am gay (which I am not), not because I had been caught having sex with someone by my peers (which has not happened), but because I was bullied. I recognized the feelings of fear, isolation, anxiety, self hate, and weakness right away. I understood why he killed himself.

    He was bullied. THIS is the issue.

    My first instinct was to share the story so we would recognize bulling as a huge problem, not sex education in schools! Your paragraph: “It’s not about gay kids being bullied. It’s about all kids learning and conforming to a societal standard of decency and civility that would result in genuine respect for others. And it’s about learning a behavior code in which the bullying of another person would be unthinkable.”

    This is really the essence. I was disappointed upon reading this post because I came out of it sort of confused thinking I was going to read about Catholic heart teachings but got sex education and gay agenda and all sorts of political BS that I felt had no reason to be highlighted. That takes the responsibility of loving each other and supporting each other and addressing this issue personally at its human level from each of us individually and puts it on progressive and conservative platforms. It alienates and blames. It becomes other. “It’s their fault.”

    I was deeply moved by this post from Single Dad Laughing. Please take the time to read it. It is long. No political agenda. The word homosexual or gay never comes up at all. No sex education or sexual culture is ever talked about. It’s about the core issues: lack of love and not supporting each other.

    I’m not the type that ever leaves comments on blogs and offers feedback that may not be “positive.” That’s just not ‘me.’ The thing is, that’s one of the reasons bullying goes on, because some of us choose to NOT speak up and NOT say things from the heart, because we may ruffle feathers or someone may not ‘like’ us. I commented today because my conscience spoke so loud I had to. The political crap will continue, far after we are all gone. If I can teach my daughter to have to courage to attune to the beautiful God given, divine gifts within herself and have her see them in others PLUS powerfully protect those sacred graces both in herself and others, I have done my job.


  2. Elsie, thanks so much for speaking your heart on this topic. I have to say that in writing about this topic, and in discussing it with my children (teens) and my friends who are moms, I’ve taken a similar approach to what you’re describing. I truly feel like if each mom could begin to safely and non-emotionally talk about bullying in her home, if teachers could do so, and if our parishes could raise this theme, we could make a very big difference. I so greatly appreciate you taking time to comment. Your daughter is very blessed!

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