The schoolyard has always been prime turf for bullies. But these days it’s not just students who are victims. School administrators and the taxpayers who foot the bill for municipal legal costs are prime targets as well.
The ACLU is demanding that Maryville, Missouri schools end a program that encourages students to wear seatbelts by giving them free pizzas if they do and Dum-Dum lollypops if they don’t. The program piggybacks on a statewide campaign, Battle of the Belt. Students report seatbelt use to their resource officers, who then give out prizes.
Enter the nattering killjoy. After learning about the program on the radio and receiving an alleged complaint, the ACLU of Kansas’s chief counsel, Doug Bonney, sent a letter to Keith Wood, the Maryville public safety director. In the letter, Bonney asked Wood to kill the program because it “violates the Fourth Amendment … and Article I, Section 15 of the Missouri Constitution.” Wood responded by explaining that “We are not stopping people at random to check seatbelts. We monitor on the high school campus and that’s where we do all this.”
For now, the ACLU’s Bonney has decided not to pursue the claim in court, stating: “If I ever get more facts, I’ll do something about it. If not, there’s nothing I can do.” Give that man a lollypop.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, as part of its ongoing crusade for sexual anarchy, the ACLU sent a letter threatening Sussex Technical High School over its recommendation that boys wear a pair of slacks with a dark tie under their graduation gowns, and for girls to wear a dress and comfortable shoes. Right on cue, the ACLU demanded that the school change its “discriminatory” recommendations, claiming that the policy violates New Jersey’s anti-discrimination laws. According to the ACLU, a school “may not (even) prohibit male students from wearing a skirt or dress to the graduation ceremony.” In the words of the school’s principal, Anthony Macerino, “You have to pick your battles.” So, the school has caved and adopted a new recommendation — students should merely wear “appropriate and suitable” attire. Now, there’s a nebulous standard in this age of RuPaul, Anthony Weiner and Lady Gaga.
The ACLU has also launched national campaigns to bully school administrators into making pro-homosexual materials more accessible to impressionable kids. The ACLU’s recent “Don’t Filter Me” campaign is a prime example. In February, the ACLU began sending letters to schools in 12 states. The letters state, “Your school district utilizes Internet filtering software that improperly censors websites advocating the fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons… I am writing to inform you that this practice violates both the First Amendment and the Equal Access Act… and must immediately cease.”
A YouTube video that launched the campaign instructs students to visit certain websites to see if their school blocks them. Then students report the information to the ACLU, which dispatches a threat. If school administrators don’t comply, the ACLU warns: “You could be subject to legal liability and the expense of litigation as the boards of education and superintendants of two Tennessee school districts … recently discovered.” (Crank up the Jaws soundtrack.)
Bullies come in all sizes and shapes. One of the biggest wears the letters “ACLU” on its sweatshirt and costs the American taxpayer big bucks.
Robert Knight is a Senior Fellow for the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU). Rick Hecker, a student at Liberty University School of Law, is an intern for the ACRU.