Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act Needed or Not? 7

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about the law itself; however, I do think that the laws currently on the books in most states need to be enforced by the schools and local governments.  This legislation is currently before congress.  There have been posts about it all over the Internet the last three weeks.  Some even imply that if it passes freedom of speech will be a risk.  I have not been able to find the exact wording of the legislation, so I cannot comment on whether this is truly the case.  I will say that I honestly do not believe that our ancestors envisioned our current world when the original Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791.  FYI, even then there were people who were not protected, i.e. slaves, women, those who did not own property.  Therefore, I am not sure that using freedom of speech as an argument to avoid protecting a group of people is valid.

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My understanding of this legislation is that it applies to places of higher education; therefore, it will not protect high school students or anyone in middle school.  I do believe if our current laws are enforced most states already provide laws to protect our children.  I would have thought these same laws would protect college students in state funded schools, but I may be wrong.  I also refer you back to my previous post, Accountability for Protecting Our Children, which I wrote on October 22, 2010 for more about protecting our children.

I would love to know what you think about this legislation or any other legislation that may be pending in your home state.  Do we need more laws or do we just need to enforce the current laws?  Is being mean protected under freedom of speech laws?  I do not believe it is.  If it is, should it be?


  1. We are now in 21st century, but we are suffering from different types of harassment. In these circumstances anti harassment law is necessary_____

    • Stephen,
      Thank you for stopping by and for your comments. I’m still not sure how I feel about the purposed law, but I definitely agree that our society needs to change. The parental apathy about meanness really brothers me.

  2. Hey-popping back quickly-I gave you a blogger award..:) You have to come over and pick it up though. I’m new to your blog-but I think you are interesting-and invite conversation..which is really nice in the blogosphere..:)

  3. Good post..:) I think that the words “freedom” and “rights” although important are used much more than “responsibility”. We have laws..it just seems that so much time is spent on making them..adding to them..insisting on new ones etc. That the ones we already have in place are forgotten. I do so wish that along with the Bill of rights we had a Bill of Responsibilities..*sigh*

  4. In Georgia, Harassment is defined as the following:

    “‘Harassment’ means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person.”

    I would think that most instances of bullying would fall under this definition. If meanness rises to the level of harassment, it should be prosecuted. But, yes, I believe meanness is protected free speech, and it should be. However distasteful, we all have an inalienable right to be assholes.

    Just my opinion. 😉

    • Laura,
      Thanks for posting Georgia’s definition of harassment. I agree that most instances of bullying should fall under this definition, and yes, it should be prosecuted.

      However, regarding whether or not meanness is a protected free speech, it depends. I pulled out my copy of The Constitution of the United States of America that I received as a keepsake from a visit to the United States Senate. Next to the first amendment is a paragraph in a second column which states, “The first ten amendments comprise the Bill of Rights. The first amendment protects religious freedom by prohibiting the establishment of an official or exclusive church or sect. Free speech and free press are protected, although they can be limited for reasons of defamation, obscenity, and certain forms of state censorship, especially during wartime…” Therefore, not all meaness is protected.

      Now the question, does the proposed legislation infringe upon free speech? I really am not sure because as I said I haven’t seen the exact wording.

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