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  • Who’s the Bully? FCC to Impose Anti-Bullying Mandates on Schools

    Federal Communications Commission Logo

    The Federal Communications Commission is joining the fight against bullying. Reportedly, the agency will soon issue rules requiring schools that receive federal funding for Internet equipment and service under its “E-rate” program to educate students on “how to act responsibly online.” Specific topics will include “cyber-bullying prevention” and “behavior on social networking sites like Facebook.”

    It’s an odd new mission for the agency. Certainly, no one should defend bullying, and everyone is in favor of proper behavior online. But do America’s schools really need direction on those issues from the FCC? What’s next? Education mandates from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission?

    To be fair, the FCC does know a thing or two about bullying. For the past 75 years, it has bullied its own way around the communications marketplace. Just ask anyone who had been harassed under the Fairness Doctrine, broadcasters fined under vague indecency standards, cable providers facing an FCC “war on cable,” or—currently—Internet service providers being threatened with regulation under improvised “Title II” standards.

    Now, it’s schools the FCC is looking to bully. The agency’s portal into education policy, of course, is the $2.25 billion schools and libraries fund it administers. Originally meant to hook schools up to the Internet, its purpose was accomplished long ago and should be terminated. But even if it continues, it should be administered by the Education Department, not telecommunications regulators. And it certainly should not be used as a hook to give telecom regulators a say in how local schools operate.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Who’s the Bully? FCC to Impose Anti-Bullying Mandates on Schools

    1. PippN, Severna Park says:

      It saddens me to see the federal government slowly regulating every aspect of American life. Liberty does not answer to a federal agency. We have to roll back the authority of state and federal agencies who make up rules – willy nilly – without voter approval.

    2. MJF, CT says:

      Amazing! Again, it's the government (aka the guys in the white hats) riding to rescue the stupid damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks. We do not need the FCC or ANY part of the Federal government to get involved with this problem. It can and WILL be handled at the local level. We do not need "mother" government to step in and bully our schools and States around.

    3. Nancy Willard, Eugen says:

      Might be nice if you checked the facts. This new requirement was included in a federal statute – the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act. The requirement is added to the Children's Internet Protection Act – the law that requires schools to use filters. In the original regulations for CIPA, the FCC merely required that schools indicate that they are in compliance. The FCC stated that it would assume good faith of the districts. Odds are high that all the FCC will do is require schools to also indicate that they are teaching Internet safety in accord with the provisions of the act. Nothing more.

    4. Scot, New Jersey says:

      Nancy;

      I'll take it that your points are correct…however the point here is this…in what bizarre world does the FCC have anything to say about local school operations?

      The objection is to unwarrented government interference in local matters. The FCC has a job to do with regard to regulating the airwaves which is its proper pervue based on the law. It has no business involving itself in school administration issues regardless of the source of funding for any special school projects like internet access (a channel by the way that the FCC has no authority to regulate either).

    5. James Gattuso James Gattuso says:

      Ms. Willard — You are correct. The 2008 legislation was not referred to in the press reports I saw, but it does require schools to certify that they have such programs. But while this may shift responsibility from the FCC to Congress, I still find the FCC's involvement in education policy is still a matter of concern.

    6. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Thank you James. The FCC and the DOE will usurp Congress endlessly in 2011. The Obama Czars will continue to create their Pravda for Americans by Regulations that properly should be Acts Of Congress. Nevermind how completely illegal this power grab will be, unless we are willing to take on the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy for what it actually is, it will be too late by the time Americans find out what has been going on behind the scenes. (And behind the smoke screen!)

      EPA will continue to bully our entrepreneurs! DOA will continue to destroy American Agriculture! The Federal Reserve will do the very opposite of their mandate and purposefully inflate our Currency! America has already experienced Obama's big haymaker punch! Now, with a neo-do nothing Congress the big Left Hook is coming from Obama's shadow government. Everywhere in America the other two branches of government are usurped by their Executive. The FCC would do well to go after the Captive Media and start pulling their licenses for Election Fraud.

      ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and CBS gave political contributions worth hundreds of millions of dollars (in proven, orchestrated Media Bias measured at 80% for Obama et al.) As a loyal American I don't stand for blatent election fraud in plain sight. As Victims Americans have seen the Progressives for what they really are. You can't hide a vast conspiracy of 100 years duration. These charges must be brought against the Officials of corrupt American Institutions like the Media who throw elections (and cover up for Crimes). If the plain sight infractions are not brought in the 112th House? How can loyal Americans ever hope to wrest back control of their Government?

      That's my litmus test of the new Republican Congress. Can you bring the usurpers to Justice?

    7. Michael Foley says:

      Nancy, what facts are you suggesting anyone get right? I see nothing in your post that is not stated in the article as to the new FCC regulations. You give a history of the federal statue under which the FCC regulation is being issued, but that neither provides "facts" that are different than those stated in the article.

      It seems to me the "facts" you are contending as either being missing from the article or stated incorrectly in the article is the degree and extent (the heavy handiest) with which the regulation will be imposed on the schools. You cite previous way the FCC handled a regulation for schools to have filters on their internet connected computers as an example of how little impact that particular regulation had on schools. But then you add "Odds are high that all the FCC will do is require schools to also indicate that they are teaching internet safety…".

      The article list topics that "are" to be covered, this sound more like a lesson plan will be included in the regulation. The fact that the FCC feels the need to add this to it funding requirements, is another case of the FCC stepping in as parent replacements.

      Bullying of any type is wrong. But is it the Federal governments role to step in an regulate the flow of funds and mandate the teaching of any principle. Requiring filters at least makes sense and is limited to those school computers purchased with tax payers money in order to protect children from seeing certain material. While bullying may go on in the schools the source and communication systems to carry it out are certainly not the schools computer systems.

      While you may see my position as an overreach and the FCC regulations as harmless if not a benefit. The issue really is, here you have a federal agency that has nothing to do with education (other than providing some hardware that is used in the education process) imposing a regulation on a vast group of people requiring then do something and that something is far outside that agency's area. Rules, boundaries and limitations, when a federal agency is allowed to ignore then it becomes a very bad thing. While you may see this regulation as one you agree with and having benefit, the next one may not and when that happens who will you turn to for support?

    8. Pingback: FRC Blog » The Social Conservative Review: The Insider’s Guide to Pro-Family News–November 5, 2010

    9. kathie, quincy,ma says:

      Not only should the FCC stay out of the schools, but the whole Department of Education

      should be eliminated. Schools should be run by local officials. This is just another example of too much federal government interference.

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