Anti-harassment laws do not violate student rights
Anti-harassment laws were formulated to protect people from unfair treatment. Harassment is qualified as any act which humiliates or embarrasses an individual. These actions involve calling demeaning names, touching, pushing, or pulling. For instance, a common form of harassment is sexual abuse. It happens to both adults and children in many places. Another common form of harassment among students is cyberbullying. Students use websites, phones, or any other technology device to harass fellow students (Billitteri, 2010). They may send threats, abuses or other bullying messages. Harassment can cause negative responses, such as violence, suicide, and intimidation. To curb this problem, anti-harassment laws were formulated. This law has been simplified for people to get an order for harassment. Individuals can fill out the legal forms without a lawyer and pay the required fee. There is also an emergency protection for those in immediate danger of harassment. Currently, more emphasis is being applied on ceasing harassment in all the states. Anti-harassment laws do not violate students’ rights as they actually protect their rights to a safe and comfortable environment, provide an avenue for free speech that does not violate other laws, and provide a basis for violators to reform into behavior that is more acceptable in the society.
It is wrong to state that anti-harassment laws violate students’ rights. Instead, they actually protect their rights. Students have a right to a comfortable environment with no harassment. They will concentrate well on studying and passing their exams. They will also normally develop in social, emotional, and cognitive aspects. If anti-harassment laws were removed, it would make students vulnerable to each other and to other adults. Some teachers would harass students in any forms, and no legal action would be taken. Students would turn on each other and inflict all kinds of harassments. Harassed students would suffer emotionally, psychologically, and even physically (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 2010). This is why students become violent: they are seeking revenge. Others commit suicide since they cannot endure the embarrassment and humiliation. The consequences of harassment are severe and there is a need for laws to prohibit harassment. There are more benefits of having these laws than their limitations. Therefore, anti-harassment laws should be enforced and further campaign against harassment should continue.
Anti-harassment laws do not affect any innocent students negatively. They are only enforced on students who practice cyberbullying and other forms of harassments. Guilty students are charged according to their offenses. They may be sent to juvenile correction programs or other approved institutions (Billitteri, 2012). This is the only situation where the student’s rights are violated. He or she will lose the right to freedom or a normal school program. This situation, however, is allowed legally, as all offenders must be disciplined according to the law. The correction program enables students to reflect on their actions and change for the better. This would enable them to fit in the school community, as well as the society. These students would become better people, living peacefully with the others. The length of time these students are denied their rights is worthy. It should not be viewed as an illegal violation of their rights, but rather as a form of helping such students to become better people in their present life and future.
Students tend to think that anti-harassment laws violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 2010). These amendments entail freedom of speech for students. Universities and colleges are full of racism, discrimination, and other forms of harassments. Most of them are expressed in speeches. For example, a certain campus may have a poster campaigning against homosexuality. It may include abusive language and threats. Students argue they have a right to spread such information since they are entitled to freedom of speech (Murray, 2011). What they need to know is that freedom of speech and expression is limited. It should not be practiced at the cost of other people’s well-being. All citizens are free to speak their minds, but their speech should not violate other laws. If students wanted to campaign against homosexuality, modest methods are to be used. They could use decent language, rather than abuses and threats. Therefore, anti-harassment laws do not violate students’ rights at all.
Anti-harassment laws are there to protect every citizen from harassment. Maltreatment is demeaning, humiliating and intimidating. Many people who have experienced bullying, sexual abuse, or any other forms of harassment undergo a difficult time (Russo, 2010). They affect an individual’s development, altering this person’s normal ways of life. Harassment has negative effects, and the presence of laws subdues it. Anti-harassments laws can work together with other laws without violating students’ rights. Students should not be allowed to bully others in the name of practicing their right of expression. There should be limitations to these rights and severe punishments for students who harass others (Billitteri, 2012). However, lawmakers should ensure that no anti-harassment laws actually contradict the students’ rights. Students should understand that these laws have been formulated to protect them and not to violate their rights. They should support all of them and abide to them to avoid trouble. School administrations have an obligation of informing their students on the anti-harassment laws.
Billitteri, Thomas J. Preventing Bullying. Do anti-harassment laws violate students’ rights? 10 Dec. 2010. Web. 5 Jul. 2012.
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. ‘Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act’ Threatens Free Speech on Campus. 23 Nov. 2010. Web. 5 Jul. 2012. < http://thefire.org/article/12501.html>
Murray, Carla. Bullying: The modern moral plague of schoolchildren. 9 Oct. 2011. Web. 5 Jul. 2012. < http://www.examiner.com/article/bullying-the-modern-moral-plague-of-schoolchildren>
Russo, Tracy. Harassment and Bullying in Our Schools. 29 Oct. 2010. Web. 5 Jul. 2012. < http://blogs.justice.gov/main/archives/1043>