A new anti-bullying law in Michigan, initially proposed to protect those bullied by other mercilessly, has gain wide criticism for those it does protect. Senate Bill 137 attempts to perform a balancing act between protecting the victims and protecting other students and school officials from what they may do or not do, but many are saying the measure does more to protect the would-be bullies.
According to reports, “Matt’s Safe School Law” a bill named after Matt Epling, a Michigan student who committed suicide after prolonged bullying, was passed the state Senate on Wednesday and now is headed to the lower house.
Included in the anti-bullying measure is language to protect those students, teachers and other school employees whose “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction justifies their action.”
Anti-bullying activists, including the father of the boy who the bill is named for, criticized the bill saying the bill gives bullies the OK to pick on other students, especially those who hold different sexual preferences.
Those who supported and sponsored the bill said the clause addressed the concern many had that if a student stood up and said according to their religious beliefs, they didn’t support same-sex marriage, the student would not be punished just for making the statement.
Bullying has been widespread in the news in the past several years and many experts believe it is a deep-rooted problem. Michigan is one of only a handful of states who have not implemented an anti-bullying measure, but this is not the measure many hoped to see.
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