House will change Senate's anti-bullying bill

Senate Minority Floor Leader Gretchen Whitmer’s (D-East Lansing) passionate speech against SB 137 went viral on YouTube with more than 300,000 hits. Her words also had an impact on the House since Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) promised changes to the Senate bill which forces all school districts to implement an anti-bullying policy, but exempts statements made based on moral convictions or religious beliefs. SB 137 has been referred to the House Education Committee.

The passage last week of the Senate’s anti-bullying legislation has received state and national attention—and ridicule. Nationally, both ABC News and Time magazine referenced the Senate’s action. State School Superintendent Mike Flanagan called it “a joke” and Kevin Epling, Matt’s father for whom the bill was named, said he was “ashamed” of the legislation.

Democrats produced a new YouTube video—“Michigan’s Children Speak Out Against Republican Pro-Bullying Legislation”—which features students commenting on the Senate’s bullying bill.

As we have for the past several years, MEA will continue to advocate for a comprehensive anti-bullying bill that protects students from the dangerous effects of both in-person and cyber-bullying by fellow students.

“We couldn’t agree more that the Senate’s anti-bullying bill is a ridiculous excuse for public policy,” said MEA President Steve Cook. “The top priority for our leaders in Lansing should always be looking out for our kids – and the Senate completely failed to do it.  It’s good to hear the House is going to take a more serious and thoughtful look at this critical issue.”