Originally at American Thinker, April 21, 2011
By Chuck Rogér
In an April 20 American Thinker article, I discussed the “bully-proofing” of Santa Fe, New Mexico public schools. The district’s program, which aligns with a U.S. Department of Education push to eliminate bullying, emphasizes “team building, conflict resolution, mediation, intrapersonal and interpersonal skills” as well as other techniques designed to “make things as right as possible.” The so-called “restorative justice” approach aims to convince everyone, including bullying victims, to avoid “harshly judging the perpetrator[s].” The Santa Fe district uses “wellness teams” and provides “drop boxes” for anonymous bullying reports.
In last Thursday’s AT aticle, I cautioned,
But it is misleading to debilitate children with the expectation that universities and employers will provide drop boxes for reporting inter-student and inter-employee conflicts. Yet, as cruel a trick as such brainwashing surely is, it probably foretells absurdities yet to come. Companies might eventually succumb to federal arm-twisting by instituting the corporate equivalent of “wellness teams.”
One of the first “companies” to offer its arm is a sister agency to the arm-twisting Education Department. No sooner had last Thursday’s piece posted, than the Department of Health and Human Services sent an email to employees with the subject line: “Maintaing [sic] a Violence-Free Workplace – HHS Anti-Bullying Statement.” A search failed to locate the message on the HHS website. Here is the text of the email (obtained from an HHS source).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
“Maintaining a Violence-Free Workplace”
The Department of Health and Human Services is committed to providing a safe and positive work environment for all employees. Recently, press coverage and technology use has shed light on the issue of bullying, bringing real time images of inappropriate behavior to our homes and workplace. Bullying occurs when people use their power, via verbal, physical or other means to control or harm others. Often, the victims have a hard time defending themselves. It usually involves repeated negative behavior.
The impact of bullying can be harmful and long lasting. “Bullying” is conduct that constitutes fighting; threats; an intent to inflict harm; abusive, offensive, unprofessional, distracting, slanderous, malicious, derogatory or otherwise inappropriate or unacceptable language intended to degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people.
All employees are reminded that bullying behavior is inappropriate for the workplace, and a violation of HHS policy. The agency does not condone or tolerate this type of behavior. Any employee who is subject to bullying behavior should report the matter to his or her supervisor or another appropriate official immediately. Also, all senior leaders, supervisors, and employees should review the agency’s workplace violence guidelines located at http://www.hhs.gov/ohr/eap/library/GUIDELINES_2008.doc and take the appropriate steps to ensure a safe and positive work environment for all.
We’re asking for your support and cooperation as we strive to make HHS one of the premier employers across the federal government.
So then, “Any employee who is subject to bullying behavior should report the matter to his or her supervisor or another appropriate official immediately.” Apparently, in the view of HHS leadership, adult employees must be held to the same behavioral guidelines applied to Santa Fe schoolchildren. HHS grown-ups subjected to bullying should “immediately” call for management intervention.
My HHS source wonders, “Can the drop boxes and ‘wellness teams’ be far off?”
Once again the Obama administration has taught us something. A “premier” employer treats adults like children, demands that the child-adults allow wiser adult-adults to resolve conflicts, and perpetuates the fallacy that a behavior that has survived since the dawn of humankind will evaporate under decree from the wise ones.
How appropriate for the 2011 Health and Human Services Department. Quintessentially Obamaesque.