Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 74: Punishing Bullies, Berman Learns the Word "Transgender" and the 2nd Annual Harvey Milk Conference

Today is the 74th day of the 82nd regular session of the Texas Legislature. The House is adjourned until 1:00 pm on Monday, the Senate until 1:30.

HB 24 and HB 170 are both scheduled for public hearing in the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday, March 29th. Both bills deal with expanding the circumstances under which bullies may be place in alternative school. HB 24 expands the definition in the Education Code to include cyber-bullying if the communication is sent from school grounds or is received on equipment that is school property. HB 170 would create a 300 ft buffer zone around school grounds to allow school administrators to address bullying that takes place adjacent to the school.

Both are reasonable baby steps towards giving administrators more tools to address bullying after it happens, but neither bill includes an education requirement. By not requiring that schools educate students, staff and parents how to identify and prevent bullying the bills maintain the status quo of schools cleaning up after the fact, after the damage has been done. Additionally, by focusing on punishing students, instead of educating them, HB 24 and HB 170, while helpful, are unlikely to help educate children who are engaging in bullying behavior on how to be better members of society.

Never the less, they are steps in the right direction. If you would like to contact the members of the public education committee and ask them to support HB 24 and HB 170 the contact information for the committee is at the bottom of this post.

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In case you missed it...

Rep. Leo Berman is one of the most conservative, and anti-equality, members of the Texas Legislature. This video, from KXAN, shows him debating Rep. Rafael Anchia (one of our staunchest allies) on a number of topics, including adoption by same-sex parents. Watch Anchia try to educate Berman about the word "transgender":

Session '11: Reps. Berman and Anchia: kxan.com

I haven't seen a clearer illustration of the challenges our community faces in the Texas Legislature in a long time.

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The 2nd annual Harvey Milk conference will be May 21st in Austin. If you weren't able to make it last year you missed a great opportunity to meet queer activists of all political philosophies. A facebook page has been created with more details.

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House Committee on Education Members

Rob Eissler, (Chair)
512-463-0797 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0797 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-0898
[email protected]

Scott Hochberg, (Vice Chair)
512-463-0492 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0492 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-5896
[email protected]

Alma Allen
512-463-07445 Fax: 512-463-0761
[email protected]

Jimmie Don Aycock
512-463-0684 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0684 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-8987
[email protected]

Harold Dutton, Jr
512-463-0510 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0510 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-8333
[email protected]

Representative Ryan Guillen
512-463-0416 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0416 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-1012
[email protected]

Dan Huberty
512-463-0520 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0520 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-1606
[email protected]

Mark Shelton
512-463-0608 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0608 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-8342
[email protected]

Todd Smith
512-463-0522 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0522 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-9529
[email protected]

Mark Strama
512-463-0821 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0821 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-1199
[email protected]

Randy Weber
512-463-0707 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 512-463-0707 end_of_the_skype_highlighting Fax: 512-463-8717
[email protected]

If you only have time to send one e-mail copy/paste this list of the committee members, their staffers and the committee clerk.

[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]


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