A Game of Inches

The Virginia General Assembly is rarely the scene of inspiration. Generally speaking, this week has been no exception.

However, despite an ultimately disappointing result, I was impressed this morning at an House Education Subcommittee hearing considering HB 1575. The bill, offered by Del. David Englin of Alexandria, would mandate school authorities to set up ways to prevent bullying and hold them accountable for how they do it.

Del. David Englin

The disappointment, even anger, comes because the Subcommittee failed to move the bill forward. One young woman said afterwards, “These are bad people.” Part of me wants to agree. On behalf of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, I joined others in urging them not to delay.

What they did was refer the bill to a yet-to-be named group that will study the entire issue of bullying. Hardly action to cheer about!

And yet, all members of the subcommittee indicated their support for action against bullying. Most said they want the study to be done this year so they can act next year. This is, I am sure, a gain over what would have been the attitude a year or two ago.

I am reminded that changing public policy is generally a game of inches, not yards, and very rarely does “going long” for a successful touchdown pass work as a strategy.

I know Del. Englin is not abandoning the cause, nor will People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, Equality Virginia, and many others. We will be watching, and participating in the process every way we can.

The lives of our children are at stake. We shall not be silent. We shall not be satisfied until the law matches the need.