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?
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.