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Bullying is prohibited... unless

From "This is True":

COMPLETELY PROHIBITED -- UNLESS: Matt Epling was incessantly bullied at MacDonald Middle School in East Lansing, Mich. His last day of eighth grade was the final straw: he was given a "Welcome to High School" beating. School officials did little, so his parents decided to go to the police. But fearing retribution from his bullies, Epling killed himself rather than tell the police what happened. In the nine years since, the state's Republican lawmakers would not let an anti-bullying law through, saying it would create a "protected class" of citizens: gays. Michigan is one of only three states without an anti-bullying law; meanwhile, "at least 10" more bullied students have committed suicide in the state. So this year, "Matt's Safe School Law" was finally put to vote in the Michigan Senate. According to the proposed law put forth by Republicans, torment is not bullying if "a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction" is behind the bully's actions. The law specifically addresses "cyber bullying" -- but only if the bully uses "a device owned or under the control of a school district" -- not a student's own cell phone. Also, Republicans would only support the bill if it didn't require schools to report bullying, didn't have provisions for enforcement or teacher training, and did not hold school officials accountable for failing to act. With that, the bill passed -- 26 Republican votes in favor vs. 11 Democrats opposed. (RC/Detroit Free Press, Time) ... So if it's signed by the Republican governor, Michigan will still be one of three states without an anti-bullying law.

I weep for our country...

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Nov. 12th, 2011 02:05 pm (UTC)
I'm right there with you. We'll start with the "witch hunts" again soon, too. This country has been going backwards for years. *Sad Face*
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
We already have those.

It's called the Paparazzi
It's called High School
It's called election season
It's called the DMCA... There are probably hundreds of different punchlines possible here! Anyone else got any?
Nov. 12th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
I guess they don't have child abuse laws either. That would have a class of "protected citizens" which is children.
Nov. 12th, 2011 05:10 pm (UTC)
Sounds like either the majority of legislators are bullies or bullies got to them or both. Adults bully, too.
Nov. 12th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
It sounds to me like certain parts of Michigan's voting populous are concerned that this law will interfere with their Allah-given right to beat their wives.
Nov. 12th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
I'm passing this on to a Republican-dominated forum with which I'm on good terms.
Nov. 14th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I'm not finding much corroboration for this story. I'd like to see the text of the bill itself; maybe this source exaggerates.
Nov. 15th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
Go to http://www.legislature.mi.gov , enter "Matt's Safe School Law" into the "Bill Key Word Search (current session)" search mask. There are four bills, not sure which is the current one, but I think it's the SB-0137/HB-4163 pair. SB-0137 was passed by the Republican majority Senate along party lines and includes the contested language, which seems to be absent from HB-4163, passed by the House a week later.


The pertinent sections, lowercased for readability
(8) this section does not abridge the rights under the first amendment of the constitution of the united states or under article 1 of the state constitution of 1963 of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil's parent or guardian. This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil's parent or guardian.

(9) this section applies only to conduct by a pupil directed at 1 or more other pupils and, except as expressly provided in this section, does not apply to conduct by any other person, including, but not limited to, a school employee, a school volunteer who is not a pupil, or a pupil's parent or guardian.

I'd think that this gives a go-ahead to pupils telling other pupils that they are going to hell for being gay.

BTW, you may also want to look into what Matt Epling's parents have to say on the subject ( http://www.freewebs.com/mattepling/ ). The press failed to do the basic factchecking, Matt was neither gay nor bullied for being gay, it was just the plain vanilla we-dont-like-you-bullying type of thing. So to me it's kind of bizaare how these protections for "moral conviction" and "religious belief" end up in this piece of legislation in the first place.
Nov. 15th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
As for that entire forum being unable to find the text of the legislation:
Nov. 15th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Nov. 12th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)
Nov. 15th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC)
Like this!
Nov. 13th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC)
Michigan has really been on a roll lately. Not only does this get through, but members of one Senate committee proved that they really were in a crooked tycoon's pocket. Is it any wonder so little gets done to improve the joint?
Nov. 13th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)
The law does not discriminate against gay children. You get to persecute Muslim children, too. And black children, for some denominations. And native American children and Jewish children, because they haven't accepted Jesus, you know... And God decrees that women must submit to men, so if any girl child gets insolent, she's fair game...
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:50 am (UTC)
If they're trying to avoid creating a "protected class", they're doing it wrong.

So, does that mean the citizens of Michigan can bully their state senators all they want, because of their "moral convictions", and there's nothing they can do about it? I smell a potentially interesting protest coming...


The Old Wolf

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