Making Bullying Legal

On Monday, the state of Michigan was set to pass a new bill to protect kids from bullying. The law, named “Matt’s School Safe Law” was championed by a Michigan family whose teenage son, Matt, committed suicide after being bullied for being gay. Michigan is one of only 3 states that don’t have anti-bullying laws, so this whole thing sounds pretty great, right?

Wrong.

First, Michigan Republicans added some special provisions to the bill. They only agreed to pass the measure if it did not require schools to report bullying, didn’t train teachers to handle bullying and couldn’t punish principals if they didn’t do anything to stop bullying. So basically, they only agreed to pass it if it was a bullying law that did absolutely nothing to stop bullying.

But wait, it gets worse.

Because not only did they make it so that bullying doesn’t need to be enforced, but they also added a special provision. Bullying is illegal and is punishable…except if it’s done with religious motivation.

I’m just gonna let that sink in for a second.

In Michigan it’s illegal to bully unless you have a moral objection to something someone is doing. Hmmm, what kind of bullying could they possibly be protecting? Oh right, the exact kind that motivated this law. The head of the American Family Association told reporters that this religious protection was necessary for bullying because they didn’t want this bill to be “a Trojan horse for the homosexual agenda.”

The homosexual agenda.

I’m pretty sure this agenda currently consists of: prevent gay teenagers from being bullied, get closed-minded Republicans to stop hating them, be allowed to get married like all other consenting adults.

THE HORROR. Please write more laws to protect me from these horrible people and their terrible intentions.

This bill that was supposed to protect kids from bullying and was supposed to literally save lives, is now the most impotent, ass backwards law there has ever been. This law gives kids a free pass to bully gay kids if their religion opposes homosexuality. Or if they say it does.

I am trying so hard to be relatively balanced, but I am so angry at these Republicans that I can hardly see straight.

How can these adults in government possibly think that this protects anyone besides bullies? It doesn’t allow schools to crack down on bullying, it protects bullying of homosexual kids. They may as well make all bullies in charge of schools. At this point, that would hardly be worse.

I cannot begin to imagine what Matt’s parents must be feeling right now. They set forth to do something really great with their loss. They planned to protect other families from the hell they’ve been forced to live with. And their legislature, no, the Republicans in their legislature, took their mission and flushed it down the drain. They took something with the ability to do so much good and made it a Trojan horse for the homophobes, the religious zealots and the bullies of the world.

These are not the people that need protection.

If you are not outraged by this, I truly question your humanity. That any adult can stand aside and let kids get bullied to the point that they see no option except to take their own lives is disgusting to me. That we can protect that bullying is even more reprehensible. If another teen in Michigan dies like Matt did it will be the fault of the Republicans in Michigan who cared more about stopping some imaginary homosexual agenda than protecting teenagers in their state.

This is a tragedy.

(The information above comes from these two sites and my deep seated anger.)

8 Responses to “Making Bullying Legal”

  • I am appalled, and speechless, and so very, very sad.

    [Reply]

  • I think the drafters of this law would be horrified if it was used by an Islamic student in Dearborn to justify an Muslim student in Dearborn, MI, calling a Christian student an infidel based on the teachings of radical Islam.

    Just sayin’.

    [Reply]

  • This is part of a much bigger problem. Religion in politics. Our country was founded on religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson envisioned a “wall” between religion and politics, which makes a lot of sense to me. I truly don’t understand why the U.S. now has the motto “in God we trust”. This motto was created in 1956 and certainly  wasn’t used by our founding fathers (such a sexist term, but whatever.)

    Does “religious freedom”  mean  that mean those of us who do not have a religion are less free? What about those of us that are atheists? Makes me wonder. The fact that they can take the teeth out of an anti-bullying law because of (gag me) the “homosexual agenda” is disgusting bullshit.

    And honestly the behavior of our elected “representatives” (I use the term loosely as they represent the corporations that contribute funds to their campaigns, in this case the religious right), the ones that claim to have a religion, seems hypocritical to me. The lying, cheating, stealing, and yes, murder, that they are engaged in doesn’t appear to adhere to any religious laws I’ve ever heard of.

    I believe that the wall between church and state should be put back in place. I don’t think religion should play any role in government. Religious organizations should not be given tax exempt status (charity work is a completely different issue).

    Nor should our “representative” be judged based on their religion…or their lack of one. Religion has about as much business in government as whether or not your a vegan or carnivore. It’s a personal preference, not something that you inflict on other people. If you’re going to judge your elected “representative” let it be on their personal moral character. Or voting record. Or how about the campaign contributions they accept from amoral corporations?

    And I could argue the same thing with your “Personhood” post. This issue is something that I am pushing for Occupy to address. It is just that wrong.

    [Reply]

  • Wow. Just….wow. I feel for Matt’s family, especially since certain politicians in Michigan took a senseless death to futher their own bullshit political agenda. :(

    [Reply]

  • JustAnotherJDinCherryCountry:

    As a Michigan resident who loves this state sooo much, I too was completely disgusted by the bill the Senate Republicans passed. But, to me, there is still good news too. The law hasn’t been passed yet, and there is a good chance that it won’t pass as is. The House Republicans, not just the House Dems, are already trying to fix the worst part (the religious license to bully). While I don’t delude myself by believing any meaningful anti-bullying law will be passed here anytime soon, I do have hope that we will not pass this horrible pro-bullying law.

    [Reply]

  • Onna:

    And this is part of the reason living in Michigan sucks right now. Republican led House, Senate and Governor. It’s not just this bill they have totally screwed up. And the whole run the State as a business thing, not at all what is going on. I could only wish it was.

    [Reply]

  • evsmarie:

    Wow. Just wow.

    [Reply]

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I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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