State House Approves New Anti-Bullying Legislation
House bill 4163, which creates an anti-bullying law for Michigan schools, was approved by the House yesterday with strong bipartisan support on a vote of 88-18.
Speaker of the House Jase Bolger said the work accomplished in the past week by people on all points of the political spectrum is what made passage possible.
"For many years, people have agreed that bullying is wrong and something needed to be done, but they couldn't find compaassion to compromise, temper their demands and focus on the kids," said Bolger, R-Marshall. "Bullying is wrong. It doesn't matter who you are, who you are bullying, or why you are doing" Bolger continued before saying he was proud to have worked with Democrats to resolve this issue.
The bill refers to the proposed law as "Matt's Safe School Law," in reference to Matt Epling, an East Lansing high school student who committed suicide in 2002 after being bullied. His father, Kevin, has been working on creating a bullying law in Michigan for years.
Under HB 4163, school districts would have six months to adopt and implement a policy prohibiting bullying at schools, based upon guidelines suggested in the legislation. Policies must be filed with the state Department of Education, which is required to file a report with the state Legislature within one year regarding the status of policies statewide.