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Michigan ‘Bullying OK If Religiously Motivated’ Bill to Be Amended (Video)

Michigan ‘Bullying OK If Religiously Motivated’ Bill to Be Amended (Video)

The Michigan anti-bullying law into which locals Republicans put in a clause, introduced in secret, allowing a cop out for anyone who can provide a religious or moral reason for their action is to be amended, reports say.

According to state Senator Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing), whose recorded comments on the clause in the State Legislature went viral on YouTube, the clause will be removed before the bill becomes law.

She made the comments to Michigan Live following a meeting with Republicans.

“It looks like they are poised to do that,” she said. “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.”

Key Republicans had already backed away from the clause.

Rep. Phil Potvin (R-Cadillac) told MIRS that his bullying bill in the Michigan House Education Committee won’t have a religious and moral exemption like the Senate-passed bill.

“Absolutely not,” Potvin said. “Why should it? We’re talking about everyone.”

House Education Chair Paul Scott told MIRS that the language caught him off-guard.

“It doesn’t strike me that a religious person would ever need to bully,” Scott said.

Whitmer had accused Republicans of creating a “license to bully” with the clause.

“Frankly, no one I talked to has any idea what the Senate Republicans were thinking when they decided to put this language in. We need to protect our kids. In the name and memory of Matt Epling, we need to do the right thing,” Whitmer said.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, told ABC:

“There were some caucus members who worried that if a child stood up in sex education class or speech class and made a statement: ‘In my religion, I don’t believe in gay marriage,’ or something, they didn’t want the child to be evicted from school for just making a statement.

“Nothing in the bill is intended that the child could confront another child and abuse them in any way. I wouldn’t have a problem with some of the language being removed as long as it was very clear that a student’s First Amendment rights were protected. … There is no intent on my part to justify bullying, in any form.”

The bill may also be amended further to cover cyberbullying. Kevin Epling, the father of Matt, said:

“I think there needs to be stronger language on cyberbullying and there needs to be stronger language on reporting, all the way to the state level,” he said. “Students are attacking each other 24/7.”

Michigan Senate Democrats have released a video with Michigan students speaking out against the ‘religious or moral reason’ clause.

Related stories:

Michigan Republicans Allow Bullying If ‘Religiously or Morally Motivated’ (Video)

First GOP in ‘It Gets Better’ Video

Quebec Launches Anti-Bullying Campaign in Wake of Teen Gay Suicide

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Photo by Kelley Mari

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2:44PM PST on Mar 7, 2013


8:32AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Why should someone get away with bullying just because they believe some ancient superstitious nonsense ?

11:09AM PST on Mar 6, 2013

This is disgusting. How many children need to be bullied to death before the higher-ups actually realize bullying is wrong on any level. I've been bullied through school and it was awful. I don't care who the bully is or who is being bullied. If I see bullying, I will do anything I can to stop it. Don't ever be a bystander. Apathy is the largest issue we have today.

2:13AM PDT on May 23, 2012


2:11AM PDT on May 23, 2012

"Do not confuse this bullying with religious expression or freedom."

While I DO agree with that sentiment, in that the laws protecting religion expression and freedom have NO basis to justify the harm toward others.... I do feel the need to say that as it is, this IS religious expression and "freedom." This is religious in every way. This is what the bigots and such incredibly vile and disgusting fundamentalists consider to be NOTHING OTHER than religious "expression and freedom." The "freedom" to harm others, as an "expression" of primitive fears and unjustified superstitions that command them to harm others who are simply different.

Yet, if you demand that they discontinue this HATE SPEECH, and violence-inciting DISGUST that, guess what, the bullies are more than happy and irrational to take to heart............
Well then for some juvenile reasoning, YOU are all of the sudden the one that is being intolerant. Intolerant of religious freedom and expression, intolerant of hate. As if being intolerant of hate and GREAT harm to others, is SOMEHOW a bad thing.....

I'm sorry, but I'm beginning to think of the Nazi "Final Solution" as I explain this. They too explained it as good for humanity, must be done for everyone's good. But the republicans are either too primitive, or too primitive AND refuse to acknowledge the startling similarities.

Yes, relation to Nazi history is a *VERY* serious accusation. I have never made this relation toward any other group,

11:18AM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Truth, from the mouths of babes.

4:01AM PST on Nov 29, 2011

"You've Got To Be Carefully Taught"

"South Pacific" (1949)
Words: Oscar Hammerstein II
Music: Richard Rodgers

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to year
It's got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
To be afraid
Of people whose eyes
are oddly made
And people whose skin
Is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
Before it's too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught


12:44AM PST on Nov 21, 2011

Kudos to Whitmer for doing the right thing...I guess the GOPers belatedly realized that, under said clause, a radical Muslim student could kill a Christian b/c of "faith justification" and get away w/it.

5:27PM PST on Nov 20, 2011

When I first heard about this law, I decided I was officially ashamed to live in Michigan. It's disgusting what is happening to our state. However, people sticking up for this is giving me a glimmer of hope...

9:27AM PST on Nov 19, 2011

i just love that woman. she made me so proud.
i truly feel that Christ himself would have said the same.
those that try to use his name to excuse what is blatant hate - and in my mind evil - are unfit to use that name to identify themselves.

and hate against CHILDREN! these low, vulgar and manipulative people tried to make sure there was a way to get away with hurting CHILDREN.
Christ said that anyone who hurts a child would do as well to put a millstone around his neck and jump into the sea, as to expect forgiveness from God.
there is no way they can use Christ to excuse this.

she is a brave woman who had the courage to face these people with the undeniable truth.

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