Monday, November 28, 2011

Bullying In Michigan

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the anti-bullying bill that passed in the Michigan Senate and how it was amended in the House. The Senate passed a bill that allow bullying on religious grounds and the House version removed that exemption, will the bill is back in the Senate.
Anti-bully bill debate heats up in Michigan legislature
Provision for gay students holds up state law
Detroit News Lansing Bureau
By Karen Bouffard
November 28, 2011

Advocates of anti-bullying legislation support bills that enumerate, or list, characteristics — such as race or religion — that are off-limits for taunts or abuse by schoolyard bullies. They say enumerated laws can be written with sufficient breadth to protect every student and better withstand challenges before the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, some conservatives object specifically to the enumeration of gay, lesbian and transgender students. Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan and a challenger to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, has called inclusion of such students in the bill a "Trojan horse."

"We are concerned that if you establish special protected class status expressly on the basis of homosexual behavior, that will be used to promote such behavior," said Glenn, who was co-sponsor of the "marriage protection" amendment approved by state voters in 2004.
The battle over Michigan's anti-bullying legislation grabbed national attention earlier this month when the Senate passed a bill stipulating it wouldn't prohibit expression of religious or moral viewpoints — a provision critics feared could be used to justify harassment of gay, lesbian or transgendered students. Video of Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer's scathing rebuke was televised coast to coast.
So it looks like that Michigan will have an anti-bullying law with enumerating who is being protected. Consider…
Comprehensive Bullying/Harassment Policies and Laws
Policies and laws that explicitly address bias-based bullying and harassment can reduce the prevalence of bias behaviors and encourage staff intervention. Comprehensive policies and laws that specifically enumerate personal characteristics, such as sexual orientation and gender identity/expression among others, are the most effective at combating anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.
But Michigan doesn’t care about that; they just don’t want to “promote homosexual behavior”. You know if you add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, kids will become gays or lesbians or transgender just to have protection from getting their heads bashed in.

You might also want to read the Importance of Listing So-Called “Protected Classes" in Anti-Bullying Laws and Policies from the Safe Schools Coalition.

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