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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Michigan House renewed Anti-Bullying law removing 'religious provision' passed by state Senate

A newly revised Michigan anti-bullying
measure is on its way to Gov. Rick Snyder
desk. The Gov. stated he will sign the bill.
Correcting a measure passed by the GOP-led Senate earlier this month, placing Michigan into national news spotlight for an anti-bullying measure which allowed bullying on 'religious grounds'; the Senate voted on a revamped House version of the measure on November 29th dropping hotly debated provision.

The Senate approved a bill requiring schools to adopt anti-bullying and harassment policies by a 35-2 vote.

The renewed measure will be forwarded to Gov. Rick Snyder (R) desk, where its’ stated he will sign the newly approved version of an anti-bullying law.

This legislation doesn’t include a clause that critics, including state Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-Lansing) cited upon theSenate floor in a speech on November 2nd, cited would allow religious-based verbal harassment. 

But, the bill lacks proper reporting requirements for some supporters of anti-bullying policies and allows for individual school districts to determine what measures of the legislation would apply in their communities.

State Representative David Rutledge (D-54th Distict) wrote in a guest column in Ann on November 20th, that the new measure although not perfect, is better than no measure to protect Michigan school children from bullies.
" The bill does not include the "moral conviction" exception, and gives districts the freedom to create anti-bullying policies that protect every child, no matter his/her race, gender identity, sex, disability, socio-economic status, religion, or any other characteristic", Rep. Rutledge wrote.
"The bill is not perfect. Most notably, it does not include enough protections for kids who are bullied over the Internet or on a cell phone. But too much time has passed, too many days, weeks, months have gone by with only debate, and no action," he cited.
Michigan is one of only a few states without a state law requiring anti-bullying policies in schools. Previous efforts to pass anti-bullying have died Legislative debate for years as Michigan lawmakers have disagreed over proposed contents.

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