By a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee of the Michigan Senate passed a bill that would require all public schools in the state to implement anti-bullying policies. Although this action clears the way for SB-137 to be considered by the entire Senate, many are worried that the measure doesn’t go far enough to protect victims of bullying.
Michigan is one of five states that does not currently have a law specifically aimed at bullying. The issue has been a hot topic in this state for nearly ten years, since a 2002 incident in which a 14-year-old East Lansing student took his own life following a hazing incident. Prior attempts to pass similar laws have fizzled over provisions regarding the bully’s motives or characteristics of the victims. SB-137 does not contain these provisions. Some anti-bully advocates say the proposed law doesn’t require enough of schools in terms of enforcing rules or punishing bullies for their action.
Similar bills are also being considered in the Michigan House of Representatives. Even though SB-137 passed the Judiciary Committee with ease, the bill could receive some changes as it is considered on the Senate floor, or during a conference committee if and when it is considered by the House.