November 5, 2011

Idiot of the Week: Republicans in the Michigan Senate

Stop bullyingSchool bullying is not only disruptive to the learning environment; it has lasting psychological consequences for the victims. Since school personnel often seem unable or unwilling to stop it, laws are sometimes needed. This is what Michigan Democrats were attempting to do in SB 137, an anti-bullying bill named after a 14 year-old who killed himself after he was bullied.

Not only did Senate Republicans strip language that would have prohibited bullying based on the victim's race, gender, sexual preference, and other characteristics, but they added something that actually seems to condone certain forms of bullying:
The bill lays out what exactly constitutes bullying, but in one key part it says that the legislation does not prohibit First Amendment rights, and “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.”
This statement turns what was an anti-bullying law into one that actually permits religiously-based bullying. I fear that life just became more difficult for many children in Michigan.

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