Cleansing Fire

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The Hidden Risk in Anti-Bullying Proposals

June 6th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

Brian Raum of First Things wrote a column today entitled “The Hidden Risk in Anti-Bullying Proposals”

While bullying is harmful and always has been, it is an even greater harm that anti-bullying policies have been hijacked by a political agenda for the purpose of promoting homosexual behavior and insulating it from public debate and discussion. Forbidding debate about homosexual behavior in schools attacks our country’s rich tradition of encouraging the open examination of ideas. Sometimes that discourse is uncomfortable and even offensive, testing the very foundation of our identity. But in the end, it is the only way for the truth to prevail.

We should not confuse acts of intimidation and violence with legitimate debate, on or off the playground. And we should not shroud censorship and political correctness with anti-bullying policies designed to intimidate opposition into silent submission.

This is pertinent to us locally because this summer the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education and St. John Fisher College will co-sponsor a Summer Institute on Catholic Education entitled “Pathways to Preventing Bullying”. One school (UofR) is very much at odds with a Catholic world-view and the other (SJF) used to be Catholic, but is no longer so.  So how exactly are these schools able to conduct an institute on Catholic education?  Perhaps we should ask Bishop Clark if he has approved this event?  I don’t know anything about Brother Raymond Vercruysse, former president of Bishop Kearney High School, but I hope and pray he will accurately represent the issue as Brian Raum has in the above article.

In the wake of the many tragic outcomes of bullying this past year and the new anti-bullying legislation this has sparked, the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education and St. John Fisher College will co-sponsor a Summer Institute focused on presenting solutions to the problem of bullying.

The 2011 Summer Institute on Catholic Education will bring together nationally-acclaimed educators and experts on bullying prevention, parents, teachers, school administrators, catechists, and high school and college students from across the state to discuss working together to make schools and communities safe for all students. The overall theme for the Institute, which takes place July 7 and 8, is “Pathways to Preventing Bullying.”

Keynote presentations and breakout sessions will cover an array of topics, ranging from cyberbullying and bullying prevention to anti-bullying legislation, safety issues, and what parents can do to help.

The first of the two keynote speakers, Marc Brackett, PhD, will open the Institute on Thursday, July 7 with his keynote address, “Bullying Prevention Versus Intervention: A Skill-Based, Sustainable Approach to Building Emotionally Literate Schools.” Brackett is a research scientist at Yale University who looks at why bullying takes place and ways to prevent it.

Brother Raymond Vercruysse, EdD, will present the second keynote address, “Mission, Culture, and Leadership: Challenges for a Church Unknown,” on Friday, July 8. Vercruysse, who was formerly the director of the Catholic Education Program at the University of San Francisco and principal and president of Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, will discuss the future pathways to mission and leadership in the culture of Catholic schools within the context of an emerging church.

And here’s another post on the agenda behind many of the anti-bulling campaigns: Diversity, Dignity, and My Daughter

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39 Responses to “The Hidden Risk in Anti-Bullying Proposals”

  1. avatar Bruce says:

    Its just another not-so-hidden attempt at indoctrination on behalf of homosexual activists. Transgender “education” is now being forced in elementary schools in California: http://www.massresistance.org/docs/gen/11b/CA_trans_elementary/index2.html

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    St. John Fisher was not “stripped” of its Catholic title. Saying so makes it seem that something untoward happened. Both Nazareth and Fisher became independent of Catholic authority and owned and operated by their own respective boards in the 1960s. Fisher continues to self identify as a college in the Catholic heritage. Nazareth does not. The move to independent operation made state funds available to the colleges. Some schools, like LeMoyne in Syracuse, keep a closer connection to the church. Some do not. You may be thinking of the situation raised by Katherine Keough when the diocese made it clear that the college was not Catholic. The listing of Fisher a few years ago in the Kennedy directory raised the issue. It was a mistake and later removed. The mistake was on the part of the Kennedy people and not the diocese.

  3. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    anon-139203,
    Thanks for the info. I changed the wording to reflect what you say. So, at its beginnings it was a Catholic school. At some point it veered away and no longer submits to Catholic authority – thus not Catholic. Would that be accurate?

    The mistake was on the part of the Kennedy people and not the diocese.

    How would it have been a mistake unless at some point the diocese said “this school is no longer Catholic?” Did the diocese make such a statement prior to that point? If not – how would the Kennedy people or any potential students know whether the school was Catholic or not?

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    The diocese never had control over the school directly, it was run by the Basilian priests. Kennedy is independently run. They probably contacted some secretary or lower level administrator at the college who assumed “Catholic heritage” and officially Catholic were the same. As I heard of it, the year that edition was published, Father Hart quickly contacted both the Kennedy people and SJFC. The decision to go independent was made by the Basilians, I think in1966 or 1967.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    Nowhere in any of the college’s advertising, by the way, do they ever say they are Catholic. I went there in the 90’s and never once thought it was a Carhplic school.

  6. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    anon-139203,
    I’m thinking out loud here, so bear with me… saying the diocese doesn’t have direct control (independent) is not necessarily the same as saying whether or not it is Catholic. What I mean is if a school is faithful to the teachings of the Church, then the local bishop could very well allow it to be called Catholic while at the same time allowing it to administer itself independently of the diocese, could it not? What I’m wondering is if bearing the name Catholic and being independent are really 2 different things. Certainly they may be connected, especially if a school’s independence means that it has drifted away from Church teaching, but they don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Am I off-base in saying that?

  7. avatar Anonymous says:

    An official Catholic school comes under the canonical authority and responsibility of the bishop. Fisher says it was founded in the Catholic heritage but it is not officially Catholic. The bishop does not appoint it’s president nor is he responsible for the administration. Consider St. Bernard’s as the opposite. The bishop is the chancellor of the school and appoints the president. Or the Rochester Catholic high schools which are owned and run by the religious orders but still come under the authority of the bishop. If some institution is officially Catholic, the Church has authority over it.

  8. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Nowhere in any of the college’s advertising, by the way, do they ever say they are Catholic. I went there in the 90?s and never once thought it was a Carhplic school.

    So I don’t know exactly what happened when, but if you look at their history, you can see Bishop Kearney was very supportive from the start. From my cursory look, it also seems as though it would’ve been considered Catholic at the time of its inception. Would you agree w/ that? So at some point, something changed.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    Another example is Spiritus Christi. They can call themselves Catholic all they want. They’re not. That also goes for something like the Catholc League. As faithful to the church or not, to be “officially” Catholic, you must come under the authority of the Church.

  10. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    An official Catholic school comes under the canonical authority and responsibility of the bishop

    right, but that doesn’t mean that the bishop is *required* to be involved in the day-to-day activities or in the appointment of the president. For example Notre Dame (a Catholic university, right?) is run by a lay-board of trustees (not the bishop).

  11. avatar Anonymous says:

    Yes, it was a Catholic college, so was Naz. In the 60’s, the orders sold the colleges to the boards and became independent, making them eligible for the state monies ( the Bundy fund). Naz, since then, has really moved away from it’s Catholic heritage. Fisher tries to maintain and acknowledge it’s history but is still independent from the Church.

  12. avatar Anonymous says:

    Yet the Board of Trustees at Notre Dame is bound by their bylaws to elect the president of the college from the priests of the Holy Cross. And while the day to day operations Re not under the diocese, they are under the order who ultimately answers to Rome. Fisher and Naz do not.

  13. avatar Sassy says:

    Please help me understand this. Why does it appear that a large segment of special needs kids (those diagnosed with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, Downs) is not being addressed by this proposed legislation? They are low hanging fruit when it comes to bullying. Trust me, I know this from firsthand experience, and it saddens me that these kids are overlooked so often.

  14. avatar Bruce says:

    Correct, Sassy, those kids who are legitimately at risk are ignored in this “homosexuals-only” legislation. It is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt at enshrining disorder in our public schools.

  15. avatar A Catholic says:

    The public schools are a lost cause. Once God and the commandments were removed, what motivation remained for the strong not to prey on the weak? Human nature being what it is, there will be some bullying everywhere but it will be worse at public schools because of the complete lack of morality. At Catholic and Christian schools, at least students can be reminded that there is a PURPOSE to our existence here on earth and that we will be judged on how we treat our neighbor. Catholic schools have the further advantage of the sacraments to help students stay on track.

    I agree with Sassy that special needs students need to be protected from bullying, but, as others have said, any anti-bullying legislation or regulations will also be used to protect the acceptance of immorality like homosexuality and transgenderism (is that a word?)

    BTW, speaking of St. John Fisher College, they showed how far they’ve gone from their Catholic roots when they started allowing an annual drag show on campus.

  16. avatar Anonymous says:

    Bishop Clark’s homily at the Mercy High School May Day 2011 was about bullying. Students were questioning what that had to do with the theme of the Annunciation.

  17. avatar Sassy says:

    This is what saddens me about our local Catholic school–they were not willing to take a chance on my son. However, thanks to the large Mennonite influence, we have a very morally grounded school district.

  18. avatar Bruce says:

    Anony-116222, that is so true of heterodox clerics and lay people. Last weekend was Ascension “Thursday” and our priest barely mentioned it.

  19. avatar Dr. K says:

    Did he by any chance mention homosexuality?

    The bishop strangely managed to interject acceptance of homosexuals into his DoR youth Mass at Blessed Sacrament. That particular commentary lasted about a minute of his homily.

  20. avatar Bruce says:

    Wow, Dr. K. Just…wow. So very sad.

  21. avatar Anonymous says:

    Because this bishop tries to influence children in a way to damage their faith, I consider him a near occasion of sin. I would never permit my children to attend any of his masses or any other function that he is participating.

  22. avatar Anonymous says:

    What did Jesus say about those who damage the faith of the little ones.

    It is better he or she were never born.

    It would be better is a millstone were to be put around their necks and then have them thrown into the sea.

    Pretty serious stuff.

  23. avatar Anonymous says:

    It has been brought to my attention that the Christian Brothers, of whom Br. Vercruysse is a member, just declared bankruptcy over many sexual molestation charges. There are over $10 million dollars in claims made or paid out…I am not sure which one is true.

    And there are several christian brothere who were stationed at Bishop Kearney in the 1960’s who were found guilty of sexual molestation.

  24. avatar JLo says:

    We rolled over (or our elected “leaders” did) when hate-crime legislation was made the law of the land. Killing is killing, but killing certain segments of society is REALLY killing, I guess. I hate that we have such legislation, and I think special bullying laws will also be wrong and are on the plate of certain segments of America, and a small segment at that, though obviously powerful. These are very sad times in America, and the takeovers via special legislation and our courts no longer keeping to their part of the three branches are things making for a country different from past happy memory. All the while, movies and TV and print may say anything they want about the last acceptable prejudice, Catholics and Catholicism. These are not only sad times, but rather dangerous times for some Americans. +JMJ

  25. avatar Hopefull says:

    Abortion is a hate crime. Maybe we should campaign to get it declared as such.

  26. avatar Thinkling says:

    I am of the thought that the vast vast majority of what are called hate crimes are not based on hate at all.

    The opposite of love (agape) is not hate. It is rather apathy. The crime is committed because the victim is somehow seen as being of diminished human dignity compared to the perpetrator. A child who pulls the wings off a butterfly is not said to hate the butterfly. He just knows it is just a butterfly. In this case we all agree, and except perhaps for the habit being somewhat disconcerting, it is not a significant moral issue.

  27. avatar Sassy says:

    Dr. K, was the bishop’s talk his way of supporting the current push for SSM in NY?

  28. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    I attended SAINT JOHN FISHER in the sixties when it was a school. Now it is a business. After majoring in philosophy and history, and minoring in French and Psychology, the only direct quotation I can remember from my Student days there was uttered one day when Father Robert Miller looked out of the window during class and commented that an absent student was walking by the building and not in class. Someone commented that he was taking a vacation day. Father Miller turned to us and said” Gentlemen, there are no vacations from the intellectual life nor the spiritual life. A few months later, Bishop Sheen ( Uncle Fultie, as we called him ), gave us our diplomas with Bishop James Edward Kearney DD, a teacher himself and one of the most involved and best communicators this diocese ever had, sitting at his side.

    Unfortunately, that is all gone now. Thank GOD the word saint is still in the title!!

  29. avatar Dr. K says:

    I’m not sure. It was delivered before Gov. Cuomo began to make a heavy push for it.

  30. avatar Monk says:

    Father Lavery was responsible for the destruction of the catholic nature of St. John Fisher college. What a shame!

  31. avatar Anonymous says:

    I appreciate the post. I am wondering if you can do a post on how to address bullying while remaining faithful to Catholic teaching. This would seemingly be a lot more useful.

    Just today, a big study was released on domestic violence and bullying as a youngster; proving a causal link. It’s a big issue–and important–instead of talking about what not to do–what CAN we do?

  32. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    instead of talking about what not to do–what CAN we do?

    Teach the virtues. We should live by (and teach) traditional Christian morality. That is how you counteract bullying.

  33. “Now it is a business.”

    All colleges have become big business.

  34. avatar Louis E. says:

    Technically,the ultimate governing body of Notre Dame are the Fellows,who are required to be six CSC priests and six laity…but in the spirit of the Land of Lakes Statement,the Fellows have established,and delegated as much authority as they feel appropriate to,an overwhelmingly lay,much larger Board of Trustees that includes all the Fellows.

  35. avatar JLo says:

    “ instead of talking about what not to do—what CAN we do?”

    Of course, Ben! Teach the virtues and our traditions of Christian morality. People want easy answers, they want someone else to do it for them, and the elites believe that only they, in the form of government takeover and more “code” laws and corrupt courts, can do it (read Hilary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village”)!

    People keep abdicating their personal responsibilities for righteous living; and to my thinking, that’s all part of the entitlement mentality which has seized onto the thinking and behavior of so many people. Look at another facet of entitlement thinking… the law suits!!! Someone breaks your fingernail… sue ‘em! You deserve something from somebody!

    Our culture is so close now to the foot of that slippery slope. If we continue to more and more become the United States of Entitlement, we are doomed to no longer look like the United States of America. Liberty, freedom, goodness, these are not free. They require our buy-in, our taking responsibility for right living.

    So, Anonymous-233194, crisp, concise, direct answer to what can we do is Ben’s, because there are no easy answers that someone else can do for us! … “Teach the virtues; live by and teach traditional Christian morality.” +JMJ

  36. avatar Sassy says:

    If you want an “interesting” take on SSM, check out the June newsletter of Rochester-based Fortunate Families. Unbelievable (please note sarcasm).

  37. avatar Anonymous says:

    we need good Catholic schools to assist good Catholic parents (man+woman)in this task.

  38. avatar Anonymous says:

    “Teaching” virtue does not reduce bullying. There is just as much bullying ( cyber and otherwise) in catholic schools as in public schools. Teens are teens and the “weak” get targeted. Where do we start? 1st: More parental control over internet use. The computer needs to be in a public place in one’s home–not in the child’s room; 2nd: Teachers and principals need to be a lot more decisive about cases of “bullying”, whether they happen in school or on line or through texting. Expulsion ( private school option) should not be ruled out nor should a conference with student and parent and a probationary period for the offender; 3rd: All complaints of being bullied should be taken seriously by adults–and should be acted upon. Homosexuality is only one area of bullying–most teen harassment that happens over the internet ( Facebook, for one) or texting is over boy/girl relationships; girls being fat or awkward; girls and boys sending “sexual” pictures through their phones and then the pix being “spread” throughout; girls who are sexually promiscuous..or just plain jealousy.
    Bullying may seem to be worse now than it was fifty years ago only because there are more ways to harass a person–it used to be over the phone or notes passed in class. Tody it is a whole new ballgame–the meanness is the same, but the damage is more widespread.
    And as an aside, no child of God should EVER be bullied, insulted, physically hurt or emotionally traumatized, for any reason, including homosexuality. As our catechism states:

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

  39. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I didn’t mean “teaching” as in a lecture provided by a teacher to a classroom. I meant the ultimate answer is to form children in the fullness of the Gospel. Unfortunately that is not reality, so we have to result to the methods you suggest (none of which I object to). Instead of hands on formation of children by their parents, we have to come up with rules in a very impersonal way. I’m not objecting to it, but saying that it’s really a failure of being true to our Christian identity.

    Also, this just in from lifesitenews:
    Top gay rights leader: kids of religious families are ‘target demographic’ of anti-‘gay bullying’ ad

    After the broadcast of a homosexualist advertisement during the family-friendly Fox show American Idol prompted outrage, the founder of the ad campaign has confirmed that such advertisements are intended to promote the message of the gay rights lobby to young children in households that normally wouldn’t support it. One conservative leader has now demanded that Google, Fox, and Disney-Pixar sever their ties with the campaign.

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