Metro / Politics

Michigan citizens and lawmakers pushing for anti-bullying law in Michigan

East Lansing resident Kevin Epling hopes that a new Michigan anti-bullying law goes further in the Michigan legislature than others in the past.

Senate Bill 137 is now out of Senate Judiciary Committee and will go to the Senate floor sometime this fall, said the bill sponsor Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

“The difference between this bill and past bills is that it will include every child,” Jones said. “It doesn’t include specific groups, like others in the past that included specific language for overweight students or gay students. This bill doesn’t exclude people.”

Jones said the legislation will require all Michigan schools to have an anti-bullying policy.

The bill is also known as “Matt’s Safe School Law,” named after Matt Epling, Kevin Epling’s son.

“In 2002 our son Matthew was assaulted by upperclassmen as a ‘welcome to high school hazing.’ This affected Matt deeper than what we thought,” Epling said. “The night before we were to talk with police about formal charges, Matt took his own life. We decided to be vocal about what happened and have worked to make change and that begins with education and awareness of the issues.”

The first bills aiming to end bullying in Michigan schools were introduced in 1999, but none have been signed into law.

Epling said there have been so many different excuses over the years to prevent the law, and every time one excuse is corrected, another takes its place.

The only three states that don’t have anti-bullying laws are Michigan, Montana and South Dakota, Epling said.

“There has been much opposition to the bills from Republican leaders,” Epling said. “Even after the language was changed and removed,  Republican lawmakers still would not pass the law in 2009 and had another chance in 2011 to do the same. Why are our lawmakers going to wait until we lose more children to suicide, or worse, wait for a major school shooting, before they act on this issue?”

Because the language of the bill has changed, people such as Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, expect it to be passed and signed into law.

“We did not think it was necessary or positive to segregate students in special classes,” Glenn said. “In states such as Iowa, anti-bullying laws with specific language that included gay students can set a precedent for homosexual marriage.”

Jones said while the bill isn’t perfect, it’s a good start and he has not seen too much opposition from anyone yet.

4 Comments

  1. Gary Glenn, AFA-Michigan says:

    My interview with Jordan was friendly and professional, and I doubt any error was intentional, but I certainly did not use these words to make my point:  “In states such as Iowa, anti-bullying laws with specific language that included gay students can set a precedent for homosexual marriage.”

    Here’s the point I did make:

    The current legislation in Lansing – to which AFA-Michigan has no objection — includes and protects all students, including those who engage in homosexual behavior.  However, it does not segregate students into special “protected class” categories and then protect them on the basis of membership in a certain category (such as “sexual orientation,” i.e. homosexual behavior).  Instead, the current bill protects each individual students on the basis of the student’s individual worth as a human being.

    What the specific language in the Iowa anti-bullying bill did, and what previous bills in Michigan attempted to do, was establish special “protected class” status specifically on the basis of homosexual behavior. It was the legal precedent of that state having previously established special protection status expressly on the basis of such behavior that led the Iowa Supreme Court to cite the bullying law as justification for its decision declaring a “right” to so-called homosexual “marriage.”  In Michigan, voters overwhelmingly supported maintaining marriage as only between one man and one woman.

    AFA-Michigan opposed and successfully blocked bills in Lansing that attempted to use legitimate concern about bullying as a Trojan Horse for the same kind of legal precedent here re: homosexual behavior.  The all-inclusive bill about to be enacted now could have passed both houses years ago, but homosexual activists and their Democratic allies in the Legislature refused to support it.  Now that Democrats no longer control the state House, we expect the anti-bullying bill to be enacted into law.

    Footnote: Bully Police USA, the leading anti-bullying group in the country, agrees with AFA-Michigan that anti-bullying legislation should not segregate students into the special “protected class” categories explained above.  From the Bully Police USA website: 
    “There should not be any major emphasis on defining victims.  This addition into an anti bullying law will cause several problems for lawmakers: Any child can be victimized by a bully.  …The way a bully’s target or victim acts or physically looks is not the victims problem but the bully’s own psychological problem.  …Defining victims will slow the process of lawmaking, dividing political parties who will argue over which victims get special rights over other victims.  All children deserve the ‘special right’ not to be bullied.  ALL children who are bullied need to be protected.” http://www.bullypolice.org/grade.html

    • Its convenient  to spin that not passing the law with defining terms is in everybodys best interest when I know Republicans always have another agenda. Im willing to bet your a Republican so its like the Natural gas people telling us be calm it whats in our best interest to frac for gas and pollute the water table. Spin it anyway you want its just GOP gas.

  2. Gary Glenn, AFA-Michigan says:

    My interview with Jordan was friendly and professional, and I doubt any error was intentional, but I certainly did not use these words to make my point:  “In states such as Iowa, anti-bullying laws with specific language that included gay students can set a precedent for homosexual marriage.”

    Here’s the point I did make:

    The current legislation in Lansing – to which AFA-Michigan has no objection — includes and protects all students, including those who engage in homosexual behavior.  However, it does not segregate students into special “protected class” categories and then protect them on the basis of membership in a certain category (such as “sexual orientation,” i.e. homosexual behavior).  Instead, the current bill protects each individual students on the basis of the student’s individual worth as a human being.

    What the specific language in the Iowa anti-bullying bill did, and what previous bills in Michigan attempted to do, was establish special “protected class” status specifically on the basis of homosexual behavior. It was the legal precedent of that state having previously established special protection status expressly on the basis of such behavior that led the Iowa Supreme Court to cite the bullying law as justification for its decision declaring a “right” to so-called homosexual “marriage.”  In Michigan, voters overwhelmingly supported maintaining marriage as only between one man and one woman.

    AFA-Michigan opposed and successfully blocked bills in Lansing that attempted to use legitimate concern about bullying as a Trojan Horse for the same kind of legal precedent here re: homosexual behavior.  The all-inclusive bill about to be enacted now could have passed both houses years ago, but homosexual activists and their Democratic allies in the Legislature refused to support it.  Now that Democrats no longer control the state House, we expect the anti-bullying bill to be enacted into law.

    Footnote: Bully Police USA, the leading anti-bullying group in the country, agrees with AFA-Michigan that anti-bullying legislation should not segregate students into the special “protected class” categories explained above.  From the Bully Police USA website: 
    “There should not be any major emphasis on defining victims.  This addition into an anti bullying law will cause several problems for lawmakers: Any child can be victimized by a bully.  …The way a bully’s target or victim acts or physically looks is not the victims problem but the bully’s own psychological problem.  …Defining victims will slow the process of lawmaking, dividing political parties who will argue over which victims get special rights over other victims.  All children deserve the ‘special right’ not to be bullied.  ALL children who are bullied need to be protected.” http://www.bullypolice.org/grade.html

  3. Whether or not defining terms would affect the law Republicans are idiots. You could put a hug your baby law up and they would vote it down. How about not defining terms such as bullying a Republican since that might mean we advocate the GOP and we wouldnt want to do that?. We wouldnt want to say protect Homosexuals as that might mean we have a heart and brains when after all their just Republicans.

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