Add Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the latest list of politicians to jump into the bullying hysteria.
While many view the U.S. State Department’s role as to be representing the U.S. in international affairs, apparently Secretary Clinton found herself in need of getting her voice into the increasingly politicized issues of bullying and school safety. The State Department posted a 2.34 minute video from Secretary Clinton on October 19th in which she expresses concern over recent teen suicides, recognition of gay/lesbian employee work at the State Department, and moral support to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community in a message entitled, “Tomorrow Will Be Better”:
Video Makes No Tie-In to State Department
Upon seeing the video, my first thought was: “And bullying is a part of the State Department’s international mission…HOW????”
My second thought was: “Is she running for office again?”
But then my understanding of the nature of the political world set in. I realized that Secretary Clinton is just the latest in a string of politicians who have jumped on the bullying bandwagon in D.C. in response to intense media and political hysteria around issues of local school bullying and teen suicides. Like most others in the political arena, media, and special interest groups, Secretary Clinton most likely has no firsthand knowledge of a complex mental health diagnosis of the suicide victims or what schools have been doing for some time now to address bullying.
The video is particularly interesting to me in that Secretary Clinton made no effort to tie her 2.34 minutes of comments into the State Department mission. Instead, her comments offered personal concern and largely a voice of emotional support that “Tomorrow Will Be Better.”
More Politicizing Does Not Help Bullying and School Safety
While I am not taking issue with Secretary Clinton’s personal message aside from questioning its appropriateness for a formal U.S. State Department video and mission, I am intrigued by how bullying and teen suicides continue to enter the political realm of our nation. A little over a week ago, I wrote an article on “Obama Advisor Jarrett Enters Fray Over Bullying & Gay Rights.” First the U.S. Department of Education, then the White House, and now the U.S. State Department have top leaders jumping into local bullying and school safety issues.
As I have said since the onset of these posts, I am not homophobic, but I am politi-phobic. The politicizing of bullying and school safety, obviously now at the highest federal levels to pander to the LGBT community, may or may not meet the needs of the politicians who are trying to keep votes. In fact, some gay activists have challenged the commitment and tactics of current federal officials and gay-rights advocacy organizations.
But is politicizing school safety and bullying in the best interest of school safety and bullying? I don’t think so. In over 25 years in the school safety field, my experience has shown that the more politicians exploit public safety issues, the more policy and funding decisions meet political interests, not safety interests.
What say you?
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