|“Michigan lawmakers are looking at new policies aimed at stopping school bullying, but some say it’s ineffective.”
The reason this particular bill passed unanimously is because it simply protects all students from all bullying for all reasons. It does not include the language of all past years’ bullying bills that segregated students into special “protected class” categories including homosexual behavior or cross-dressing, or “thought crime” language that attempted to define bullying based on what a bully might have been thinking about the personal characteristics of the victim. Because it is an all-inclusive bill that protects all students equally, the American Family Association of Michigan — widely credited (or blamed) for blocking all past bills — does not oppose it.
All bullying legislation of the last five years tried to define bullying based on the personal characteristics of the victim. Some bills “enumerated” a long list of special “protected class” categories including homosexual behavior and cross-dressing, others with just a general reference to “actual or perceived characteristics” (minus the “enumerated” list). Consistent with the position advocated by both AFA-Michigan and Bully Police USA, the bill passed today by the committee included neither, which is why it passed unanimously. Now that Democrats no longer control one house and thus cannot insist on inserting the “characteristics” language which both AFA-Michigan and Bully Police USA oppose, this bill may actually be enacted.
May 3, 2011