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Michigan House Legislators To Compromise On Michigan Bullying Bill

Jase Bolger

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/07/11 09:30 PM ET Updated: 11/07/11 09:45 PM ET

After the controversial anti-bullying bill, "Michael's Safe School Law," passed in the Michigan senate last week, it was met with a whirlwind of criticism, causing GOP leaders to seek a compromise by altering it, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The article cites Ari Adler, spokesperson for Republican Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, in saying that Bolger is working on edits for the bill that will "bring everyone to the middle of the road and provide protection to all students."

Democrats in the Michigan House say the clause, which allows verbal bullying if there is a is a religious or strict moral reason, offers a "blueprint" for how to get away with harassment in schools, the Associated Press reports.

According to AP, Republicans in the House wish to refrain from listing motivations for bullying in the bill, since it would be impossible to cover everything, and "could exclude some students from protection."

When the bill passed in the state Senate, Dan Savage, creator of the "It Gets Better" project, told ABC News he believes the legislation gives bullies motivation.

"It's a law that specifically empowers students, teachers, administrators [and] principals to bully LGBT kids if they can point to a moral justification," he told ABC. "You have a right to your own religious beliefs. You don't have a right to inflict your private moral judgments on those people in a place where you are a public servant and an employee of the state.... Michigan should be ashamed of itself."

Although Adler reports Bolger is committed to ironing out the language of the bill, the Detroit Free Press writes that, for House Democrats, that may not be enough:

"It may not go far enough for Democrats who not only want the language struck, but want more specific language added to the legislation that would bar bullying students for specific instances, such as sexual orientation."
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