Fidler Pushes Anti-Bullying Measures In Schools

Lewis A. Fidler

I read this and thought, “Where was Lew Fidler when I was growing up?”

Since the widely publicized suicide last year of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi shocked the nation, after his private homosexual tryst was publically broadcast by his tormentors over Twitter, the councilman is urgently trying push through a bill he introduced this week that would make anti-bullying programs mandatory in New York City schools.

During a Committee on Civil Rights hearing earlier this week, members agreed that, while city children are being bullied every day, “Gay, lesbian and immigrant kids are most at risk of being pushed around in city schools,” noting that cyberbullying is yet another channel for the bullies to use to make the lives of their victims more intolerable.

While thankfully there was no cyberbullying when I was being taunted by all the boys in my seventh grade junior high school homeroom and having my rear end handed to me numerous times by a towering, hideous monstrosity who shall remain nameless lest she read Sheepshead Bites and decide, 25 years later, that she’s still not through with me — indeed, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was the tender age of three when I was desperately giving my parents every excuse, from a bellyache or ingrown toenail, to being depressed that the New York Rangers traded Ron Duguay, of why I didn’t want to go to school that day — with new technologies sprout imaginative new approaches to the age-old epidemic of mean kids picking on those meeker or somehow different from them. And as we learned a few months ago, it’s not always the bigger kid who does the bullying.

Fidler noted that state law prohibits the City Council from mandating Department of Education curriculum, so in trying to circumvent the restriction, the city’s Commission on Human Rights — which talks to schools about bullying — presented testimony during the hearing instead.

Fidler explained that he has been percolating over this idea for a few years, but decided to push forth with it after Clementi’s fatal plunge from the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey on September 22, 2010, explaining that “Certainly, there will be no more graphic example of how the Internet can be used to bully someone.