News & Politics

How Can You Possibly 'Insult' a Vegetarian?

You know what they say about the dark night of fascism descending on America but somehow always landing on Europe? Well, the times they are a-changin’ — at least in central New Jersey:

A school district is allowed to discipline a sixth-grader for bullying because he made disparaging remarks about a classmate’s vegetarianism. In a case that climbed up the legal ladder, the state Commissioner of Education’s office has ruled that the Montgomery school district can give detention to the student who told the other sixth-grader that “vegetarians are idiots.”

The case rose to the commissioner’s office because the student’s parent contested the district’s finding that the remarks about vegetarianism constituted bullying, a finding that was later backed by a state administrative law judge.

The case began on Oct. 30, 2014, when the two 11-year-old sixth-graders were having lunch in the cafeteria of Montgomery’s Lower Middle School. One of the students, identified in court papers as C.C., made the comments to another student, K.S., about his decision not to eat meat.

The investigation by the school’s anti-bullying specialist, guidance counselor Lesley Haas, found that C.C. told K.S. that “it’s not good to not eat meat” and that “he should eat meat because he’d be smarter and have bigger brains,” according to court papers. C.C. also admitted that he told K.S. that “vegetarians are idiots.

He’s right about that, of course. Even worse are vegans, who are just plain evil. But food faddists have long been associated with other lethal kinds of faddism, as Orwell noted in The Road to Wigan Pier (h/t Ed Driscoll):

The first thing that must strike any outside observer is that Socialism, in its developed form is a theory confined entirely to the middle classes. The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage and been converted to Roman Catholicism; or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting. This last type is surprisingly common in Socialist parties of every shade; it has perhaps been taken over en bloc from the old Liberal Party. In addition to this there is the horrible —- the really disquieting —- prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.

Amen to that. Meanwhile, back in Jersey… Read the whole thing, to appreciate just how batguano-crazy these legalistic nazis are:

Haas concluded that C.C.’s comments met the legal definition of harassment, intimidation and bullying under state law because they targeted a student’s “distinguishing characteristic” and “substantially interfered with the rights of K.S. and had the effect of insulting or demeaning him.” Superintendent of Schools Stephanie Gartenberg agreed with Haas’ conclusion…

Four months later, C.C.’s parent filed an appeal with the state Commissioner of Education, asking that the school board’s finding be overturned. The appeal, filed by attorney Adam Wilson, was based on whether being a vegetarian is considered a “distinguishing characteristic” under state law.

The case then went before Administrative Law Judge John S. Kennedy, who ruled in March that K.S.’s vegetarianism was a “distinguishing characteristic” based on previous bullying cases and that C.C.’s comments were insults.

What will be the next thing forbidden to “insult”? Islam?