Back in August, Focus on the Family launched “True Tolerance,” its campaign to stop schools from implementing anti-bullying plans that include protections for LGBT students. Since the start of the school year, there have now been five reported cases of teens who have committed suicide following anti-gay bullying. GLSEN has been documenting anti-gay bullying, and according to a 2009 survey, the vast majority of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, and “40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.”
Focus on the Family, however, says that bullying isn’t the problem, anti-bullying policies are. The group’s True Tolerance campaign argues that school strategies to target bullying are really covert ways for “activists who want to promote homosexuality in kids” to “capture the hearts and minds of our children at their earliest stages.”
Candi Cushman of True Tolerance asserts that “gay activists” are “infiltrating classrooms under the cover of ‘anti-bullying’ or ‘safe schools’ initiatives.” That’s why Focus on the Family claims to be defending the “innocence and purity” of children against LGBT groups that conspire “under the cover of so-called safe-school initiatives” and use “‘Safety’… as a political arm-twisting tool to force an adult agenda into schools.”
True Tolerance goes on to suggest:
Listing certain categories creates a system ripe for reverse discrimination, sending the message that certain characteristics are more worthy of protection than others. Instead of bringing more peace and unity, this can politicize the school environment and introduce divisiveness among different groups of students and parents.
Why not emphasize instead the things we have in common as Americans? For example, we can unite around the teachings of our Founding Fathers—in particular, the principle that all men are created equal and that they are endowed with unalienable rights.
Under the calls for unity and equality, Focus on the Family turns the victims of bullying into the victimizers, claiming that the supposed discriminatory and manipulative actions of “gay activists” are the real problems in schools. After what we’ve seen in the last few weeks, maybe Focus on the Family should rethink its opposition to protecting all students from bullying.