Yesterday's House debate about the Safe Schools Act certainly did bring out the fringe element of the Minnesota Republican Party. From Jim Newberger predicting the anti-bullying bill will usher in an Orwellian dystopia, to Mary Franson saying it's tantamount to fascism, to Glenn Gruenhagen openly pining for the days when teachers could lay the smack down on students, it reminded us of the days when Bradlee Dean was taken seriously and invited to give the official House prayer.
As mentioned, Gruenhagen, known for his gay-unfriendly views and belief that climate change is "just a complete United Nations fraud," said he thinks the solution to bullying is physical violence. What could possibly go wrong?
"I went to a social studies class and the teacher happened to be a football coach, and he had a paddle in 9th grade," Gruenhagen said during his testimony. "And if you didn't behave yourself, you got up in front of the class, and guess what? You got one on the hind end and you had to sign the paddle. It only happened one time in his class and everybody behaved themselves. We didn't have any problems."
"And what we've done... is we've tied the hands of our local school districts from actually applying discipline to the students, and the result is we have to hire armed police officers to walk the halls," he continued. "That's the problem. Your bill isn't going to fix it, it's only going to make it worse."
Here's the video:
For some background on why DFL lawmakers believe the sort of local school district control Gruenhagen alludes to can actually exacerbate the bullying problem, see our cover feature, "Gay bullying must end: In wake of suicides, schools face federal scrutiny."