Michigan Senate Passes Bullying Law that Allows Bullying

In a fine example of orwellian doublespeak, Republicans in the Michigan senate just passed a bill meant to adress bullying at schools, but only after inserting an amendment that makes sure schools can’t “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.” In other words, bullying won’t be tolerated in Michigan schools anymore…unless the bully says he is only bullying because his religion tells him to. If you see this as a glaring and absurd addition to the law,  you aren’t alone.

The law, which is known as “Matt’s Safe School Law,” is named after Matt Epling who killed himself in 2002 after being bullied because he was gay. Matt’s father, Kevin Epling, joins all 11 Democrats in the State Senate in opposing the amendment. “This is just unconscionable,” said Kevin Epling. “This is government-sanctioned bigotry.” Gretchen Whitmer, a Democratic State Senator, condemned the amendment in a floor speech, saying, “you may be able to pat yourselves on the back today and say that you did something, but in actuality you are explicitly outlining how to get away with bullying. As passed today, bullying kids is okay if a student, parent, teacher or school employee can come up with a moral or religious reason for doing it.”

It is this kind of legislation that makes Progressive Majority’s work so important. Our Run for America campaign has already recruited 1,000 progressives who are going to run for state and local office. Will you join them and work to stop bills like this one? We’ll provide you with training, expertise, and a winning campaign strategy, and together we can take back our cities and states. Sign up today at Run for America, or become a recruiter and learn how to identify and convince progressives in your community to run for office.