Friday, October 29, 2010

CNN Raises Awareness of Bullying And Homophobia

On CNN, anchor reporter Anderson Cooper (left) has taken up the cause of bullying more than any other journalist. In this video, he very skillfully and politely persuaded an anti-gay man, C. McCance (right), to publicly back down on homophobic rhetoric in his writing and to concurrently resign from his position as vice-president of an Arkansas school board.

Anderson Cooper did a fine job on air of publicly connecting a face with homophobia for millions of viewers around the world. This elected member of an education board in Arkansas clearly seemed surprised to find himself caught on international television. I have to commend Mr. Cooper for  using his platform to confront this official. (If only certain other right-wing American talk show hosts could be as helpful.)

More than that, Mr. Cooper should get a special award for raising public awareness of the ongoing social issue of bullying, since it overlaps and underlies so very many social issues and timely matters of current public policy socially, in the workplace and at schools. At the same time, spotlighting outrageous instances of outright homophobia can't hurt the LGBT community (not that I belong, but I happen to think homophobia is wrong).

It might interest my international readers to know that America's free public schools are controlled by locally elected school board members. These board members are obviously American, in my experience, and mostly Americans of many generations.

...At the same time, it might interest my American readers to learn that most free schools in other countries are not controlled by anyone other than school heads.

These American school boards in general worry me because they aren't necessarily filled with educators and the most educated and experienced people in the community. School boards get filled with citizens whose wish for board membership coincides with having the time and inclination to serve. The busiest and most experienced professionals and educators rarely serve on school boards. The trouble is, in America these board members make academic decisions on school matters in which they are far from expert.

We can only hope school board members do the right thing for  the sensitive, vulnerable young minds, the children like mine, on whose shoulders the future rests. The work Mr. Cooper did to expose this official is valuable to all whose children's educations rely on a fair and balanced school board, sadly an oxymoron. They should be accountable to communities; yes, that is definitely the least they should be.

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