LANSING, Mich. — Michigan state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) is leading the fight against against GOP efforts to create a “license to bully” that gives kids the ability to bully based on “religious or moral convictions.”
In a new video, Whitmer and Michigan children are speaking out against the anti-bullying bill passed last week that contained a last minute addition by senate Republicans that essentially nullified the bill by allowing an exception to the law for “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian.”
“Shamefully, Michigan is one of only three states that has not enacted strong protections for our kids,” Whitmer says. Watch:
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The bill — “Matt’s Safe School Law,” named for Matt Eppling, an East Lansing 14-year-old who committed suicide after being bullied by classmates in 2002 — was passed in the state senate last week.
It would require school districts to develop anti-bullying policies, but the last minute addition included a clause that schools’ policies can’t “prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”
State Superintendent Mike Flanagan blasted the bill, calling it “a joke” that language in the measure appears to allow bullying on religious and moral grounds.
The bill is now pending consideration by the state House.
A petition has been launched at Change.org, urging the House to reject the exclusion in the bill’s current language.