The Michigan House of Representatives dropped a controversial Senate-proposed addition to an anti-bullying bill that would have allowed students to bully others if their attack was based on a “religious or moral conviction.”
The new anti-bullying bill scrubbed of that contentious passage is still awaiting passage by both houses of government before it heads to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk, but critics of the bill say it still doesn’t go far enough because it doesn’t ban specific basis for bullying.READ MORE: Jalen Rose Brings COVID Vaccine Clinic To Detroit Academy
More than 50,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding that the state legislature include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity — which aren’t in the bill in its current form.
The petition was started by two Michigan high school students self-identified in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, who say they’ve been “brutally bullied.” Katy Butler and Carson Borbelyed’s petition urges leaders in the Michigan legislature to approve a comprehensive bill that explicitly lists the reasons students are most often bullied and includes reporting requirements for schools.
“I’m speaking out for all those students who suffer every day at school,” said Butler, a 16-year-old junior at Greenhills High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in a press release. “As students, we deserve a bill that will actually protect us at school. Unfortunately, the bills being considered in Lansing fall short of doing that.”READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment In Your Future?
“People keep telling us youth that ‘it gets better,’” Butler added. “Well, it can’t get better if you don’t make it better.”
In the past, Butler said she endured shoving, name-calling, and an incident where her hand was slammed in a locker door. Her friend Carson Borbely, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Ann Arbor District School, identifies as a transgender male and has allegedly been subjected to harassment.
“A few weeks ago in class, I brushed a friend’s hair away from her face,” said Borbely. “A loud voice sharply interrupted, ‘Don’t touch her. Trannies carry diseases.’ The teacher didn’t do anything.”
Katy and Carson believe if enough people sign the online petition campaign, the Michigan Senate will pass a stronger anti-bullying bill that “omits any special exemptions, lists enumerated protections, and includes reporting requirements.”MORE NEWS: American Heart Foundation To Host 2021 Detroit Heart Walk On May 15
Michigan is one of the few remaining states without an anti-bullying law.