In what can only be described as a cowardly political move, the Republican controlled Michigan Senate passed SB 137, which basically sanctions bullying.
ThinkProgress reports that the bill “not only neglects to protect students based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but creates a special exception for bullies who have a ‘sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.’”
Basically, a student in Michigan schools can be bullied if another student, teacher, or administrator has strong moral reasons for tormenting a child. You have got to be kidding me?!?!
Are there adults elected to office in Michigan? Do they really believe that anyone’s religious beliefs give them sanction to physically or emotionally assault another individual? How is this any different than the Taliban or a jihad? Yet those individuals are terrorists and a jihad is a terrorist attack!
But according to Republican senators in Michigan (which passed SB 137 in a 26-11 vote), assaulting a child in school based on “religious or moral conviction” is A-OK! I guess as long as those beliefs are Christian based then it’s alright.
Do these people understand that a group of students in Michigan can form a Holy Crusade and beat the crap out of some gay kid, which according to SB 137, would be perfectly within their right? Those students would never be held accountable for their actions because they were simply following their “moral” convictions.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer refused to take the bill’s passage lying down. In a passionate speech, she made the following statement:
So this might solve a political problem that Republicans have. but be clear: You are papering over the problem that is a reality faced by hundreds of kids in Michigan schools every day. In fact, not only does this not protect kids who are bullied, it further endangers them by legitimizing excuses for tormenting a student. And the saddest and sickest irony of this whole thing is that it’s called ‘Matt’s Safe School Law’. And after the way that you’ve gutted it, it wouldn’t have done a damn thing to save Matt!
This is worse than doing nothing! It’s a Republican license to bully.”
Here’s her full speech if you would like to hear her lambast the Republicans.