Political Animal


April 01, 2012 11:20 AM The Wall Street Journal: Objectively Pro-Bully

By Kathleen Geier

I have to say, I saw this coming.

In an era which has been so full of all manner of public nastiness and viciousness (much but by no means all of it emanating from the right), one of our society’s more heartening trends has been a growing public concern about bullying, and a heightened sensitivity to the severe trauma bullies can inflict on their vulnerable young victims. Dan Savage’s brilliant “It Gets Better” campaign, targeted at bullied LGBTQ youth; Lady Gaga’s anti-bullying organization, documentaries liked the acclaimed new film Bully — all of this has been wonderful. To the extent that we as a society make clear that bullying is completely unacceptable, and that it becomes the norm for adults to take action to stop bullies instead of looking the other way — this is a significant step forward in human progress, and a victory for humanity. Who, I ask, could possibly be opposed to such a glorious thing?

The Wall Street Journal — that’s who!

Nick Gillespie, noted libertarian wanker, has written an opinion piece for the WSJ in which he takes us liberal pansy-asses to task for our coddling of bullied kids and our namby-pamby concern with stuff like kids’ physical and psychological well-being — you know, their “feelings.” Oh, to be sure, he makes the right noises about not really being pro-bully. “I have no interest in defending the bullies who dominate sandboxes, extort lunch money and use Twitter to taunt their classmates,” he writes — good to know!

But basically, the dude is concern trolling. He manages to fill out every square on the Libertarian Bingo — Child-Rearing Edition score card. The horror of peanut-free, soda-free schools? Check. The terrifying possibility that victims’ bullies might resort to the courts to force bullies, and the schools that enable them, to take responsibility for their actions? Check. “Helicopter parents”? Check, again. Ranting about “paternalism run amok”? Yup, check. A few cherry-picked examples of panicky, overprotective school administrators doing silly things like canceling an Easter egg hunt? Check, and double check.

Gillespie makes the argument that kids today are safer than ever, and that may be true, in some respects. For instance, he points out that rates of childhood mortality and accidents are declining, and I’m sure that’s true. But what, praytell, does that have to do with the subject at hand, which is bullying? He presents no real evidence that childhood bullying — either its frequency or intensity — is on the decline.

But I think the most awesome moment in the entire piece is when he actually comes out in favor of child labor. As In These Times has noted, “Advocates have for months been pressing the Labor Department to finalize a rule change that would help shield child farm workers from some of the most severe occupational hazards, such as handling pesticides and dangerous farm equipment, and would beef up protections for workers under age 16.” But Gillespie seems to believe that protecting kids from dangerous working conditions is for pussies: “What was once taken for granted—working the family farm, October tests with jack-o-lantern-themed questions, hunting your own Easter eggs—is being threatened by paternalism run amok.” Hey, if it was good enough for those Joad kids, it should be good enough for today’s spoiled brats! And while you’re at it, get offa my lawn!

Though I have to ask: what exactly is Gillespie complaining about, anyway? A few films, television shows, websites, and educational programs aimed at raising awareness about bullying, teaching kids how to react to bullies, and educating adults about how to effectively intervene when there’s a bullying problem? These campaigns give frightened, traumatized kids the tools to fight back. They even have the potential to create a radically more humane, less cruel society. What kind of warped psyche gets all bent out of shape about anti-bullying campaigns, yet is completely OK with labor practices that lead to hundreds of preventable child deaths every year?

I know that some people think libertarianism is a defensible and benign — even a noble — political philosophy. But you really have to start wondering why libertarians so often end up defending the privileges of some of the worst creeps, bullies, and a-holes on the face of the planet.

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee


  • TCinLA on April 01, 2012 1:13 PM:

    Bullying lasts forever. I still get a smile on my face to think that the asshole I had to deal with is now found on the Wall of Names - no mention of the fact he was shot to death by his own men for being the asshole he always was. If ever someone "deserved it," Darryl Hall certainly did.

  • Skip on April 01, 2012 1:21 PM:

    Complaining is easy. Working to raise awareness and address an issue that has actually affected kids to the point of suicide is hard.

    Pounding out one's opinions on a keyboard, taking oppositional view to those who've had to deal with the life long effects of being bullied, or to those who have lost a child to suicide due to bullying is also easy. Listening to the stories with a human measure of compassion and empathy of those who've been forced to deal with bullying is hard.

    And the easiest kind of bullying is from behind the safety of a keyboard...

  • Cajsa on April 01, 2012 1:24 PM:

    You know what I can see coming next? Nick Gillespie whining about liberal bloggers picking on him.

  • martin on April 01, 2012 1:28 PM:

    Re: Child work on family farms. Tracie McMillian's book, mentioned in the previous post, pretty much blows the top off of the myth of kids working on their family farms. It is just another way of exploiting unprotected migrants who "do the work Americans won't."

    Gillespie is a pompous ass anyway. I wonder if he was wearing his black leather jacket when he wrote this.

  • Ripley on April 01, 2012 1:29 PM:

    "What kind of warped psyche gets all bent out of shape about anti-bullying campaigns, yet is completely OK with labor practices that lead to hundreds of preventable child deaths every year?"

    Nick Gillespie (AKA The Fonzie of Freedom) seen the future and it looks nothing like him. Panic and covertly violent intransigence for him and others like him; global sigh of relief for the rest of us.

  • Josef K on April 01, 2012 1:39 PM:

    I don't know this clown from Adam, so I've no idea if he himself was picked on as a child (chronologically speaking that is; his emotional IQ strikes as stuck somewhere in toddlerville). He certainly seems to have internalized is own internal bully and wishes to make as many suffer for whatever indignities he might have suffered over the years.

    Or maybe he's just the sort of sonuvabitch who burns ants with a magnifying glass. There seems to be a lot of them out and about these days.

  • T-Rex on April 01, 2012 2:06 PM:

    Nick Gillespie is evidently too young to remember the days when I went to high school, when soft-drink vending machines were banned from the premises, along with coffee and a variety of other foods that the school though weren't good for us. Those were the days before schools had to make commercial partnerships with junk food vendors to break even. But there was lots and lots of bullying, rarely if ever limited by adult interference. I wonder what his libertarian views make of that?

  • Werewolf on April 01, 2012 2:31 PM:

    When I was a kid, bullying was tolerated by schools. Teachers/principals were openly contemptuous of "tattletales", and if you did tattle, retaliation from the bully was swift and harsh, with no interference from adult authority. Frankly, if an adult were to do to me today what was done to me as a child, I'd file suit or press criminal charges. I'm very glad to see that my kids don't have to live in an environment where bullies only get punished if they give wedgies in full view of a teacher. Gillespie was obviously a bully as a kid, or his kid is a bully, and he misses the "good old days".

  • axt113 on April 01, 2012 2:31 PM:

    Ive said it before once you're out of the womb and if you're not rich, the GOp doesn't give a damn about you

  • James E. Powell on April 01, 2012 2:38 PM:

    I'm sure that Gillespie believes that the parents of bullied children and the school officials trying to make their students' lives better are the real bullies.

    What do so many libertarians seem to believe that liberty includes the right to harm others without consequences?

  • David in NY on April 01, 2012 3:08 PM:

    The author of the WSJ piece is from the Reason Foundation, which is enmeshed with American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). "ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line." http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Reason_Foundation.

    David Koch is one of the trustees.

    Remember, the right's agenda is to trivialize any any effort to promote empathy or compassion, often under the guise of reasonableness.

  • Just Dropping By on April 01, 2012 3:13 PM:

    labor practices that lead to hundreds of preventable child deaths every year


  • Jay C on April 01, 2012 3:14 PM:

    Wh[y] do so many lib;ertarians seem to believe that liberty includes the right to harm others without consequences?

    Feature, not a bug. Even if it does sound like Nick Gillespie is just another garden-variety glibertarian assh0le cranking out winger boilerplate for the WSJ. It's hard not to look at some of the anti-anti-bullying pushback, and not imagine that it isn't oriented mainly (if not exclusively) towards maintaining -and reinforcing - "accepted" standards of prejudice. IOW, "harm to others" is bad, but "harm to Others", i.e. any of those out-groups deemed "lower" in whatever hierarchical ranking the pro-bullying lobby uses, is just fine and dandy. As long as the victims are the "correct" Others.

    Check out the upshot of the recent bullying scandal in Minnesota : bullying directed at gay (or perceived gay) teenagers in the local school system was fundamentally encouraged by a large segment of the community. Who also vigorously fought any and all anti-bullying efforts (on the grounds of "religion", of course) by the local school district. They lost, in this case (so far), but these attitudes are probably FAR more widespread than we like to think.

  • Jamie on April 01, 2012 3:15 PM:

    The Fonzie of freedom has a Ph.D in English literature? I'm guessing he survived a surfeit of wedgies, so he thinks everyone else should too

  • rrk1 on April 01, 2012 3:32 PM:

    Kathleen, you've scored again. This blog has become worth reading.

    I don't read the WSJ, and haven't a clue who Gillespie is, but he will no doubt claim that you, Kathleen, are a bully for saying such harsh, mean, things about him. And from a woman too!

    Teaching kids how to defend themselves, physically or intellectually, would seem like a reasonable goal for a civilized society. What Gillespie and his ilk seem to want is the law of the jungle. Not satisfied with their version of no-holds-barred social Darwinism (better known as corporate capitalism) they now advocate biological Darwinism; to wit, survival of the fittest. If you can't deal with the bullies, or out bully them, or avoid a piece of rotating machinery that can chop you in two, you don't deserve to live among us, or perhaps live at all. Those ideas would put us back somewhere in the stone age. If I had a time machine that's where I'd send everyone of the knuckle-dragging troglodytes, like Gillespie, who write such garbage. There they could club each other to death while defending their caves. The winner would be the biggest bully with the smallest brain.

    The bullies I remember from childhood, and there were many, almost all lived to be stupid jerks all their lives. They bullied their wives, their children and everyone around them, and garnered little respect regardless of how financially successful some of them became - using the same tactics. The Back To The Future films of the '80s dealt with that idea fairly well, although the bully in those films didn't win in the long run. Other bullying themed films weren't funny, and even had violent, tragic plots. I haven't seen the new one that is rated 'R' to make sure teenagers won't see it.

    American society has always been mean and violent, but that has never been our outspoken national creed. The Libertarian/Rethuglican/Teabaggers are busily changing that.

    Gillespie and his crowd

    Bullying may be a genetic fault. Such behavior may not be changeable. In any case, the wounds they leave their victims with tend never to heal completely.

    And so what if a few kids get chewed up in a hay bailer. We'll make more. After all, accidents happen. Take responsibility for yourself. Don't whine, you crybaby! You're on your own. Don't expect any help from anyone. That's what makes men strong (and we are talking about only men here). Actually girls are pretty good at bullying too, and maybe better than a lot of men, which may provide another reason for these a-holes to be such misogynists.

  • Fess on April 01, 2012 3:52 PM:

    They'd like a return to the "good old ways"? My middle child was judged to "walk like a girl" by some goon in his middle school. The kid was unrelenting. One day my kid took his jackknife to school and showed it to the offender unopened. The bully blubbered like a baby and ran to the lunch aide, but he left my son alone after that. This was before the days of automatic suspension for having a knife at school, but whatever the punishment could have been, it was worth it to my son who was too embarrassed to even share that this kid harassed him every day at lunch. A year later a kid in his PE class gave him a hard time every day for whatever middle school boys think is a good reason. One day he slapped my son's face and my son side-kicked the offender in the ribs. (Yes, the PE teacher encouraged all this.) My 13 yr old was so upset that he kept threatening to snap kick the bully in the knee. My son was taking karate (he was pretty seriously uncoordinated, but the karate teachers were ever patient and he really know how to do this). It took most of the afternoon to talk him down and make him see that crippling the creep wasn't an appropriate response. The next day in PE he saw the kid had a big bruise on his ribs and that made him feel better. That kid left him alone after that too. Is this really the world we want to encourage? I don't know what happened to those other kids, but my kid ended up with a Master's from an Ivy League college and represents our government in foreign affairs. He evidently learned the advantages of diplomacy over knives and karate kicks.

  • Ron Byers on April 01, 2012 4:30 PM:

    My granddaughter, age 13, won an contest on the horrible effects of bullying and read her powerful essay to her assembled middle school. Her parents and grandparents are really proud of stand she took and her well written essay. I wonder if Mr. Gillespie's parents are proud of him.

    By the way bullying is a serious problem in our schools. It isn't just a LGBTG issue, although members of those communities are often the targets of school age bullies. My granddaughter's problem is less dramatic but for a child very painful. She is a redhead.

  • 2Manchu on April 01, 2012 5:01 PM:

    So on the one hand Gillespie is complaining about the "nanny state", and then on the other and he's pointing out that children are less likely to suffer from accidents and fatalities than they were thirty years ago.

    Just can't put two and two together, can ya, High Speed?

  • RMcD on April 01, 2012 5:43 PM:

    What unites libertarians with conservatives, despite the latter's rather "libertine" moral sensibilities, is that both believe that every social and economic problem can be solved by punishing the "losers." High poverty? Get rid of welfare to end dependency. High unemployment? Get rid of unemployment benefits to encourage job seeking. Bad health? Repeal the law that makes emergency rooms treat the uninsured, so that there will be greater consequences for not having provided for your own future. Economic stagnation? raise taxes on the "lucky duckies."

    This is the same thing, with the larger policy context stripped away. Despite their pretense of non-violence, every libertarian dreams of beating the crap out of the weak and vulnerable, who are, as the 19th century libertarian William Graham Spencer wrote, a "dead weight" on society. Why is this a surprise. Bullying is the essence of libertarianism, whose core belief is that government should be "limited" to advancing the interest of the bullies. The moment it tries to protect average citizens from exploitation, the hysterics begin, and the bullies turn into bedwetters.

  • Spiny Norman on April 01, 2012 5:49 PM:

    I favor right-to-carry and stand-your-ground for fourth graders.

  • Texas Aggie on April 01, 2012 6:52 PM:

    If you think Gillespie is the only sickie in the world, go to the link and read the comments.

  • Mimikatz on April 01, 2012 7:02 PM:

    Libertarian is just a fancy word for selfishness. Period.

  • zandru on April 01, 2012 7:23 PM:

    Werewolf describes the past that I'm familiar with. Moreover, back in the day, if you went to the adult authorities to complain about being bullied, they would punish you.

  • Jim Hart on April 01, 2012 7:57 PM:

    Very, very well said, Ms. Geier. To echo (and perhaps add to) rrk1 (above), it's good to read some serious, fearless progressive fire for a change (Hello, PA editors, ahem, DNC/Obama?). So, my question to your editors is, why are YOU not the new, full-time Political Animal blogger? Kilgore is good (minus the noshing and whining, though, indeed, no one questions the good heart and solid progressive core of Mr. Ed), but, as a blogger, you are stronger, and much more interesting. I say, and I suspect many of my fellow PA readers would agree, you're the Animal I'd like to read. Any chance? A strong, progressive, female voice would be a nice change for PA (memo to PG; cc: Everyone).

  • nitpicker on April 02, 2012 8:39 AM:

    @Just Dropping By

    An estimated 300 children die each year in farming accidents
    Farm children are twice as likely to die from an accident than their urban counterparts
    An estimated 30,000 children under 20 years of age are injured each year in farming accidents
    If children who visit or work on non-family farms are added the total is estimated to be close to
    100,000 injuries
    Nearly 950 farm children suffer some type of permanent disability because of farm accidents annually
    Approximately 90% of the fatalities and injuries occur to male children
    Children under the age of 16 comprise 20% of all farm fatalities


  • Al B Tross on April 02, 2012 11:32 AM:

    "What kind of warped psyche gets all bent out of shape about anti-bullying campaigns, yet is completely OK with labor practices that lead to hundreds of preventable child deaths every year?"

    Why, those whom suffer from Authoritarian Personality Syndrome, whom else?

    We do have a way of testing, within 90% accuracy, those that may have this behavioral trait.


  • Bob on April 02, 2012 8:39 PM:

    Here, let me explain this. You learn to deal with problems as a child. A weak sheltered child that can't deal with things like bullies grows into a weak sheltered adult that cant deal with the world around them. What happens when you meet a bully at your workplace as an adult? Or a bully neighbor? Who do you run to? Children need to learn to deal with their problems. There will always be bullies, this is an obstacle to overcome. People like you need to learn this and not try to create an unrealistic environment where the child is totally unprepared for the real world.

  • Shep on April 02, 2012 8:46 PM:

    Apparently, none of the commenters read the actual column, which says pretty much NOTHING that Ms. Geier claims it does. I frankly wonder if she even read it, or just sort of skimmed it and assumed she got the message based on her preconceived notions about what Mr. Gillespie's views must be.

  • chuck on April 02, 2012 8:49 PM:

    I learned one thing from this article- you did not read Gillespie's.

    And if anything, you're instance that he is a bully *despite what he clears says* points to either your idiocy or arrogance. In either case, traits that also found in your high school counter-parts.

  • David Hill on April 02, 2012 8:59 PM:

    From Criminal Minds:

    Boys have a way of sortin' these things out.

    Yeah, they do. Right now one of them's sorting it out with an assault rifle.

  • Buffet on April 02, 2012 9:15 PM:

    These sissies need to toughen up!

  • v on April 02, 2012 10:02 PM:

    whats sweet is when the bully gets it later on in life when hes at his most vulnerable...
    case in point, the cops brat who could beat, rob, and torment kids with impunity, he became a dope grower later in life while i went to work for the government...
    i still get the joy of making him wet himself in fear,(he doesn't know i'm retired) just walking by him is enough to get his paranoid azz shaking in fear...
    once the other victims caught on from watching his PSH reaction he has never had a peaceful day...
    karma or ???...

  • agnostic on April 02, 2012 10:15 PM:

    quote: "But what, praytell, does that have to do with the subject at hand, which is bullying? He presents no real evidence that childhood bullying either its frequency or intensity is on the decline."

    Is childhood bullying - frequency or intensity - on the increase, decrease, or static? Scientific evidence would help the average reader assess the veracity of both authors' position. I'm not even a journalist and I see that. Cmon, readers- demand higher standards for what you read.

  • selunesmom on April 02, 2012 11:56 PM:


    It's not a question of "sheltering" kids. It's a question of creating an environment where kids realize that bullying is non acceptable and not tolerated. It's teaching the correct ways of dealing with the situation - going to an authority figure (a parent/teacher/principal for kids, a supervisor/HR/a lawyer/the police) - rather than attempting to "tough it out" or resorting to the law of the jungle and relying schoolyard violence to right the situation.

    You don't settle disputes with a harassing co-worker by punching him or her in the face, or making threats, or just sucking it up. You deal with it like a civilized person. That's why there are grounds for lawsuits for creating a "hostile work environment".

  • For Real? on April 03, 2012 12:04 AM:

    Is this a 'real' article? Did some kind of sheltered, priveleged idiot get paid to write this? Is this a representation of passive aggressive retaliation for feelings of low self worth due to being bullied manifesting as a backlash to blame society for the realism of true social interaction?

    I think the author of the article should examine her own self. Without proper parenting, bullying could, perhaps, be an issue, but it's quite apparent from this article the author has no children, and is simply jumping onto the hype to create perpetuate sensationalism. I'd make fun of this unhappy and scared person on the playground, too.

    Point: The author offers no data to support her opinion. This is simply an editorial that either capitalizes on the popularity of 'bullying' (for sensationalism) or her own inner passive-aggressive motivation of representing her personal experiences and hurt of being 'bullied'. Either way, this article is garbage, and I hope she cries herself to sleep remembering how she got made fun of. I got news for you -- whiney people don't make it up the ladder, regardless of industry.

  • BillsCatz on April 03, 2012 12:41 AM:

    Seems to be a blurred line between being too polite and civil, and a kid standing up for his own well-being. I went thru pubic school forty years ago and 'bullying' as it's described today just wasn't happening. If a kid would fight back, that was all in his favor -- bullies don't necessarily want to get gut-punched or nut-kicked either. Might have to squabble with the same person a couple or three times, but the point got made. Don't mess with that kid, he'll fight back!

  • KGB on April 03, 2012 1:39 AM:

    The trouble is, the kiddies all go running home to mommy to be "saved" from the bad guys.

    Mommy will always believe their little snowflakes, that's the way it is these days.

    Unfortunately the term "bullying" has gone to cover all things that a kid doesn't like, just say they're being bullied, they're immediately off the hook for their own actions in any "altercation".

    Too many snowflakes these days, no responsibility themselves, just wait for mommy to take care of it.

  • Tim-A on April 03, 2012 6:34 AM:

    Bullying is on the uprise because advances in technology allow bullies to harass victims in their homes and outside of school without any physical interaction. Wanna pick ona classmate these days? You start a facebook group about the person. Gone are the days of shoving nerds in lockers and demanding lunch money. It's all verbal and emotional bullying currently.
    To counterpoint however, I work in admissions for a private 4 year university and the parents sense of entitlement now is unreal. They call to pick their childs majors, write emails for them, and will call about their childs admissions status. Doing everything for this new generation coddles them, builds no character, and leaves them much less independent. Bully is highky unacceptable and troubling that it is on the rise, but seeing it first hand, I think the babyboomers are contributing to a more dependent and psychologically weaker generation.

  • Obbop on April 03, 2012 9:18 AM:

    It is only very recently in human history that the vile spawn of the commoner class have become economic negatives instead of being a vital part of the family unit.

    Society has declined in many ways as the family structure and society has increasingly possessed a mind-set of;

    "It's for the children!!!"

    I do not care about YOUR children. I wish and will do them no harm but those offspring are YOUR concern, not mine.

    YOU raise them, pay for them and educate them.

    So many negatives your foul brats affect society and me. Why should I have to tolerate the negatives YOUR vile spawn emit?

    Put those mini-adults to work in the fields, factories and mines, if YOU desire.

    That does NOT suggest that the creatures be mistreated, beaten, used sexually, not fed and denied medical care.

    But allow the spawning ones to make the fruit(s) of their loins an economic asset.

    This topic is too complex to delve into and the multitude of naysayers of my writing WILL assuredly spew their emotion-laden knee-jerk implanted politically correct rhetoric but I am used to that.

    I just wish I was not FORCED to hand over a too large percentage of the minimal wealth I earn to PAY FOR YOUR vile spawn's educations, health care and MANY other expenses to tend to YOUR creation, your offspring.


    You want to spawn?

    YOU pay the costs!!!!!!

  • Thom Piper on April 03, 2012 10:37 AM:

    Kathleen Geier is missing the point completely - Nick Gillespie is not pro bully. Quite the contrary. He is warning us that lumping together real issues - bullying of gay, serious abuse - with lesser schoolyard taunts dilutes the real problems. When people think that anti-bullying campaigns are needed to protect rhyming names and other silliness then they will grow numb to serious issues that will arise.

    It is funny that a writer has such trouble reading.

  • Tom Jordan on April 03, 2012 10:45 AM:

    "But you really have to start wondering why libertarians so often end up defending the privileges of some of the worst creeps, bullies, and a-holes on the face of the planet." Yep, they'd defend you too, a-hole.

  • Anonymous on April 03, 2012 12:57 PM:

    I think this blog is irresponsible. The real article (which you all should read) is just stating that there has been a recent explosion in anti-bullying campaigns, which could lead one to believe that bullying is a new threat and is on rise when in reality, it's something that has always been around.

    The original author is saying that there is more acceptance now then there ever was and that bullying has always gone on, it's not a new concern, it's one even the author had to deal with in his past.

    I emplore you to read the original article before making some of the judgement calls. It actually was an interesting perspective (or retrospective).

  • Rick on April 03, 2012 2:49 PM:

    Bullying helped my kid. Yes, I know. But the fact that he was picked on, and emphatically against his parents intervening, was a major influence on his life. He was picked on for being "too girly" with his long blond pony tail. Now he's 200 lbs of solid muscle and it doesn't occur to anyone to call him girly, even though the pony tails is of even more significant length. He was made fun of and called "stupid". Now he is a straight A student.

    Not all kids react to bullying with whiny suicidal thoughts. Some react to a challenge like bullies with the determination to overcome those challengers. Perhaps the "parental whining to school administration" setting the example of bully responses is to blame. Or perhaps not. Perhaps my son is the unusual example. I hope not. Still, its something to consider.

  • Crissa on April 03, 2012 6:08 PM:

    Disgusting comments.

    Closing down of random events - happens with or without bullying laws. Paternalistic attitude towards safety and conduct - happens with or without bullying laws.

    At no point is teaching a child to take abuse or dish it out a positive influence on society. It breaks all the laws we adults follow.

    We need these laws not for kids - but so that we have well-adjusted adults. So that adults who run our schools can't get away with turning a blind eye. So that bigotry is laid bare in the public square where we can deal with it, instead if creeping around the edges like cockroaches - like the commenters here supporting bullying.