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ASSOCIATED PRESS — House Votes to Require Anti-Bullying Policies for Schools

March 29, 2007

“Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said the bill would create for the first time in state law a protection based on homosexual behavior. ‘Homosexual activists are using legitimate concern for student safety as a Trojan Horse to sneak their special rights agenda into law,’ he said.”


ASSOCIATED PRESS
Lansing, Michigan
March 28, 2007


House Votes to Require Anti-Bullying Policies for Schools

by David Eggert, The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Buoyed by parents, students and advocates, the Democratic-led House approved legislation Wednesday that would require Michigan schools to adopt anti-bullying and harassment policies.

The bills, backed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, now head to the Republican-controlled Senate. One bill passed the House on a 59-50 vote, with Republicans in opposition.

Lawmakers, mostly Democrats, have been pushing for changes to state law the past few years.

“This is not kids being kids. This is causing psychological impact, psychological scars — if not leading children to commit suicide,” said Rep. Pam Byrnes, a Democrat from Washtenaw County’s Lyndon Township, who spoke at a rally inside the Capitol before the House vote. She was joined by Granholm, along with students, parents and gay rights activists who spent the day lobbying legislators.

Conservatives opposed the legislation because it would specifically protect students who are being bullied because of their sexual orientation — in addition to race, height, weight, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex and other characteristics.

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said the bill would create for the first time in state law a protection based on homosexual behavior.

“Homosexual activists are using legitimate concern for student safety as a Trojan Horse to sneak their special rights agenda into law,” he said.

But supporters of the legislation — including school groups and social workers — said their intent is to protect all children from bullying and harassment. The bill is named after Matt Epling, an East Lansing student who killed himself in 2002 after a hazing incident.

Supporters said some schools aren’t doing enough to help students who’ve been bullied. Some critics said the legislation doesn’t go far enough because it wouldn’t require teachers to report instances of bullying.

Read the full Associated Press article: http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/michigan/index.ssf?/base/news-42/1175116763260540.xml&storylist=newsmichigan

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