Things that happen in Texas: barbeque, George W. Bush, and this.
If you’re a parent and your high school football team loses 91-0, you don’t reach for the rule book, you grab the state education handbook. Because the official definition of “bullying” in there looks pretty much exactly like what occurs in a 91-0 football drubbing. And so, let’s call in the lawyers!
First of all let’s confirm that this past Friday, the following did indeed happen:
Holy Thundercats. That’ll clear your sinuses.
This varsity game was played in Aledo, which is a few miles west of Fort Worth. For the record, the winning coach began substituting in the first quarter, they used a running clock in the second half, and the losing coach had no complaints about the winners, saying that they played clean and there was no trash talking.
However, a Western Hills High parent filed a complaint with the district, claiming that in winning by such a huge margin, Aledo subjected Western Hills to suffering and humiliation — which is expressly defined as bullying by the Texas education system. Here’s the exact wording of the rule:
The Texas Education Agency defines bullying this way: “Bullying occurs when a person is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.
“Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.”
Your move, Minnesota Vikings. Please fill out the form in duplicate.
As you can see, the Western Hills parent has all kinds of ground to stand on, by the letter of the law. You probably won’t see a more perfect example of “unwanted actions” and “imbalance of power or strength” than in a 91-0 football game.
Should this bullying rule apply to sports? Of course not. But at the very least this should serve as a warning to all of those “zero tolerance” nuts in education — you know, like the principals who suspend students for bringing a plastic knife to lunch to spread peanut butter, or the teacher who freaks out and overreacts if a kid draws a machine gun on a piece of paper. Because if you live by “zero tolerance”, i.e. the letter of the law, in schools, then you have to agree that one sports team dominating another is bullying, at least in Texas.
It’s right there written down by the Texas Education Agency! Ah, ah, ha, no arguments, or I may report you for bullying.