March 13, 2012
LEXINGTON, KY—The leading supporter of the so-called "Bullying Bill" became verbally and physically abusive in a Capitol Annex hallway with an opponent of the bill after the bill went down to defeat in a House committee, attracting the attention of State Police and other observers. The Family Foundation called on the Fairness Campaign to issue a public apology for the behavior of its director, Chris Hartman.
"If you are really opposed to bullying, the last thing you probably want to do is engage in it in plain sight after a meeting in which a bill prohibiting it was just discussed," said Family Foundation spokesman Martin Cothran.
Hartman obstructed the path of Andrew Walker, who had lobbied the committee against the bill, harassing him as he was leaving the restroom after the meeting and began interrogating him in an intimidating way. Several minutes later, Hartman cornered Walker again and began verbally bullying him with charges of being opposed to student safety. After Walker and Alliance Defense Fund attorney Bryan Beauman began leaving to avoid the confrontation, Hartman began yelling threateningly to reporters and others standing in the hallway about his disenchantment with opponents of the "Bullying Bill." "If you want to know who killed this bill, there he is," he said, pointing to Walker.
The incident occurred in front of the press and others who had just left the committee meeting. A state policeman began moving toward Hartman, but backed off when Walker began to leave. "These actions were all things that, had they occurred in a school, would have constituted bullying under the present school safety laws," said Cothran. "It is just bizarre to see proponents of so-called bullying legislation using bullying tactics themselves in plain sight."
Cothran said his group was looking into the possibility of filing a formal complaint over the incident.