May 8, 2009
Come to Lansing for All American Lobby Day to stand against bullies
A coalition of Michigan organizations is banding together for All American Lobby Day in Lansing on Wednesday, May 13 to lobby for the passage of Matt's Safe School Law that would require public school districts in Michigan to establish bullying policies.
The anti-bullying legislation, Senate Bill 159, was introduced by Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, and it would amend the Revised School Code to require schools to adopt a policy that prohibits harassment or bullying at school, as well as prohibiting the harmful and potentially deadly bullying from telecommunications devices. The bill specifies that all minorities, including religious and racial minorities and youth with disabilities, are protected.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10 percent are bullied on a regular basis. This year alone five students in the United States have died due to bullying.
A similar bill passed the House last session, but it died when the Senate declined to take up the bill. Anderson also introduced the same bill last session, but the Republican controlled Senate refused to give it a hearing. Although the bill had bipartisan support, it was killed by Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt. The main opposition has come from extremist rightwing groups, such as the anti-gay hate groups the American Family Association (AFA) of Michigan because it extends protection to students who may be gay.
The law is named after Matt Epling, a popular East Lansing middle school student who committed suicide as a result of bullying in school.
Among those organizing All American Lobby Day include Project Light, National HRC, White House LGBT Task Force, Michigan Equality, University of Michigan College Democrats, Michigan Democratic Youth Caucus, American Family Committee and the Order of St. John the Beloved (Catholic Order).
He lobby day will kick off at 9 a.m. with training at Teamsters local 580, 5800 Executive Dr. in Lansing, and a press conference will be held at 1:30 p.m. on the glass floor rotunda in the Capitol.