Bullying | Michigan

Michigan Bill Which Provided 'Blueprint for Bullying' Will be Changed, Says Senator: VIDEO


After outcry last week over language in Michigan's anti-bullying law which in effect, okayed bullying if a student, parent, teacher, or school employee could come up with a religious or moral reason for doing it, state Senator Gretchen Whitmer, whose comments against the bill were seen widely in a viral video on YouTube, says it looks likely the language will change, MLive reports:

State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) today said that language in state anti-bullying bill that would permit harassment for religious reasons would be changed before the bill becomes law, and she is hopeful that after meeting with Republican lawmakers that it will happen soon.

"It looks like they are poised to do that," Whitmer told WJR's Paul W. Smith on Tuesday morning, an election day across the state. "I'm glad to say that there are people on both sides of the aisle that believe that we should not legitimize excuses for tormenting a student in school."

This week, Whitmer recorded another video in which Michigan children speak out against the language, and Whitmer reads letters she has received from bullied kids.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. She is a great advocate for children everywhere in the US.

    Posted by: Jack M | Nov 9, 2011 11:43:00 AM

  2. Way to go, Sen. Whitmer. I hope one day she'll be a U.S. Senator.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Nov 9, 2011 11:46:32 AM

  3. I'm kind of conflicted with this one. Yes, I'm happy (I guess) that she is able to change wording, but...its just another "anti" piece of legislation that won't prevent bullying, just punish people after the fact.

    It is the easy way out. Its just like drug laws...they don't prevent anyone from taking drugs that want to take drugs. 10 billion is spent on drug education to the 9 billion in enforcement. This makes lawmakers feel good. Since the laws of Supply and Demand are irrefutable, that is 9 billion wasted that could go towards prevention that would do more good.

    It's just harder to come up with funds or legislation for anti-bullying initiatives so taking this route is the easy way out and makes it look like they are doing something about the problem.

    This will not stop bullying. It will even be challenged in Federal courts and lose when placed against the Constitution. So a cynical person might say that she made a politically savvy move that cost her nothing, won her a lot of votes, but in the end won't have accomplished much at all.

    WHY can't we ever put money into prevention with the same zeal as legislating against it?

    I'd like to see anti-bullying programs and see them start in kindergarten, but I guess I live in a dream world.

    Posted by: Rin | Nov 9, 2011 11:50:55 AM

  4. What a wonderful woman.

    Posted by: Aedan | Nov 9, 2011 11:55:39 AM

  5. How do people come up with such crap in the first place? It really is stunning. "Sure, smash that little fruit against the locker and take his lunch money if whatever god you claim to be defending tells you that it's OK."

    Getting bullied made me a stronger person because I fought back. But it also made me deeply mistrustful of most people, which sucks.

    Posted by: Paul R | Nov 9, 2011 11:56:37 AM

  6. But wait, isn't claiming religion a failsafe excuse for any kind of behavior whatsoever? Bullying, sexism, murder, theft, warfare, etc.? How dare anyone argue against our god-givewn right to be psychotic! It's a cornerstone of our moral society!

    If religion can't be used to justify doing whatever we want, no matter how vicious or corrupt, what will happen to society? Who'll want to be a part of religion if it can't be used as an excuse to hurt others and get away with anti-social behavior?

    Won't someone please, please think of the children?

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Nov 9, 2011 12:00:43 PM

  7. @RIN - by your logic, any law that punishes behavior doesn't do anything because it is reactive. So we should just not bother with homicide laws because they punish after the homicide?

    Punishing behavior that is wrong serves a retributive purpose and potentially a deterrent purpose as well. These laws will hopefully change behavior by criminalizing it. Will it eliminate all bullying? Of course not. Kids are assholes. But it will hopefully eliminate persistent, pervasive bullying that drives kids to take their own lives. Or otherwise make their lives miserable on a daily basis. It gives teachers who want to speak up but may be afraid to stir the pot a reason to do so to protect bullied children. And it may just force parents to actually talk to their kids about this behavior.

    Posted by: SamIAm | Nov 9, 2011 12:15:29 PM

  8. @SamIAm

    Well, we already have both assault, aggravated assault, harassment, aggravated harassment, battery, etc on the books. These bullies can already be tried for any of those IF the parents and law enforcement officials choose to take action.

    They don't.

    It's the "they don't" part that's the problem.

    Bullying, like drugs, when it is taunts is a social ill--not the equivalent of homicide. When it is physical or aggressive threats that is not a social ill and can be charged under our current felony statutes. Social ills are best prevented through educational reinforcement starting at a young age.

    Thomas Moore in Utopia complained about the country that "made thieves and then punished them".

    We as a country have chosen to dehumanize large sections of the population through cultural stereotypes and we've also made violence and aggressive behavior "the American Way" with our aggressive angry attitudes. Then we expect our children to be meek little lambs.

    I'm just saying that it would be NICE if FUNDS were appropriated to create programs that could teach children about positive behavior, equality, and social justice. Children today--especially teens are lacking in empathy and compassion for others.

    Something needs to be done about this.

    Posted by: Rin | Nov 9, 2011 3:15:58 PM

  9. Gays who vote republicant are morons!!!

    Posted by: billmiller | Nov 11, 2011 8:26:58 PM

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