A Brief Note on Bullying and Harassment

In the aftermath of Tyler Clementi’s suicide, Senator Lautenberg is proposing a bill that would require colleges to adopt anti-harassment policies as a condition for receiving federal aid. The last thing colleges need is another anti-harassment regulation. Already, an avalanche of speech codes chills free expression from coast to coast, and at Rutgers itself, anti-bias polices were so LGBTQ-friendly that the university actually places the “Center for Social Justice Education and LGBTQ Communities” in charge of investigating “bias incidents.” Yet this could not save Tyler. Neither could the existence of clearly applicable state criminal statutes.

True “bullying” is already unlawful. Myriad state and local laws constitutionally and appropriately prohibit invasion of privacy, assault (in cases of physical bullying), and harassment as appropriately defined (so severe and pervasive as to deny the student the benefit of the educational program). Moreover, in grade schools (where a great deal of bullying occurs), teachers and administrators have inherent authority to limit speech and actions that substantially disrupt the learning environment.  

As I said before, the solution is not more regulation. It’s time to rethink, not regulate.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More