Earlier today, Senate Republicans finally brought SB 137 up for a vote, legislation that would at long last get Michigan on board with what 47 states have already done in creating anti-bullying policies for our local schools to follow. While this is legislation our members have been calling on for months now, the Republicans snuck language into the bill that not only takes away from the impact of the legislation, it would actually make things worse:
“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 & parent or guardian.”
In less than 30 words, Republicans turned anti-bullying legislation into pro-bullying legislation. Essentially, instead of protecting Michigan’s students from harassment, it issues a license to bully. It tells our kids that when a bully screams hateful words on a daily basis at a student simply because they perceive them to be gay, that’s ok. It tells them that when prejudiced and even overtly racist slurs are shouted at a student simply because of who they are, that’s ok too.
This legislation doesn’t protect our students from bullying, it actually sanctions bullying in our school hallways and gives our students a blueprint on how to get away with it.
You can see Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer’s statement from the debate this morning condemning this ridiculous attack on our students below:
Senator Glenn Anderson and Senator Bert Johnson also spoke out against the Republicans’ actions.