Candi Cushman (left) of the religious right group Focus on the Family has a problem with school anti-bullying efforts: they push a "gay agenda":
...School officials allow these outside groups to introduce policies, curriculum and library books under the guise of diversity, safety or bullying-prevention initiatives, said Focus on the Family education expert Candi Cushman.
"We feel more and more that activists are being deceptive in using anti-bullying rhetoric to introduce their viewpoints, while the viewpoint of Christian students and parents are increasingly belittled," Cushman said.
...Focus supports bullying prevention, Cushman said. "But this issue is being hijacked by activists. They shouldn't be politicizing or sexualizing the issue of bully prevention."
The comment about "sexualizing the issue of bully prevention" offers much insight into Focus's position: We shouldn't concentrate on the fact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are the victims of bullying because that increases general sympathy for them. This stance against the protection of youngsters due to their sexuality is morally reprehensible. The fact that LGBT students are bullied is indeed a reason to "sexualize" the issue. Eliza Byard, executive director of the national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), cites the dimensions of the problem:
GLSEN says its agenda is to ensure safe schools and acceptance for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, race, national origin or ability.
"Bullying is a serious public health crisis in this country, according to no less an authority than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services," Byard said.
About 30 percent of American sixth-to- 10th-graders report being involved in bullying — either as a victim or bully, according to a 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It's three times more common if you're gay, Byard said. GLSEN's 2007 National School Climate Survey found that almost nine out of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students experienced harassment. Almost 61 percent felt unsafe in school. And 22 percent reported being physically assaulted in schools.