Friday, November 11, 2011

Safe School Law My Ass

Matt Kipling died at the age of 14 in 2002, because he was bullied until he committed suicide. Remember his name.
Michigan, in case you haven't heard, attempted to squeak by earlier this month with a bill they'd hoped to turn into law called Matt's Safe School Law. The law, as written by that state's Senate, would require schools to adopt an anti-bullying policy and put other safeguards in place. This original version of the bill, however, has caused an exorbitant amount of controversy. Why?

The staunch opposition stems from the fact that the law allows harassment by teachers and students as long as they can claim their actions are rooted in a "sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."

I can't make it much clearer than that.
According to the Michigan State Senate, they believe that one should not be punished for bullying someone if their religious or moral upbringing instilled in them a hatred or bigoted stance against the bullied. The Washington Post reported that this seems to be an allowance of the bystander mentality, in which someone is legally able to look the other way in instances of bullying should that bullying be in line with one's religious or moral beliefs.

I have a question: What if beating up a black man was part of my sincerely held moral beliefs? What if wearing a swastika were part of my sincerely held moral beliefs? What is calling my female teacher a 'bitch' who belonged in a kitchen was part of my sincerely held moral beliefs?

Where the hell does this kind of language end?!

This bill passed the Senate with 100% Republican approval and 100% Democratic disapproval. 26 to 11 in favor of. This is just about the easiest example of the slippery slope argument I've ever heard. 

I get it. They're trying to "do the right thing" and still be able to go back to their largely conservative Christian communities and say they did "the right thing" by their God as well. I get it. I do. 

But, had this bill become law, and with this type of language, and a student killed themselves because of state sanctioned bullying... I would hope every single last one of those god-forsaken Republicans that voted for this law was put behind bars until all of their prized, all-important constituents forgot their names. To sanction such evil, such potentially deadly behavior, is one of the worst cases of church/state excess that I've seen in a long time. 

Thankfully, probably due to the media outcry surrounding this bill, Michigan's House of Representatives passed a new version of Matt's Safe School Law. Except, this time they took out the bits about allowing religious or moral bullying. According to news agencies, this version is being sent back to the state's Senate and is expected to pass without incident. 

I just cannot fathom how this kind of thing ever seemed like a good idea in the first place. 

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

5 comments:

  1. Ugh....and the worst kind of bullying usually comes from those people who believe it is part of their "sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."

    Sickening.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OMG,that instead of helping is only going to make matters worst.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my goodness. I live in this state?! What is it with the uprising of religious intolerance?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Isn't Michigan supposed to be a blue state?

    ReplyDelete