Dec. 12, 2008Anti-Bullying Bills
After much delay, the Senate Education Committee reported out anti-bullying bills that passed the House a year and a half ago.
HB 4091 and HB 4162, which are tie-barred together, would require schools to adopt a policy that prohibits harassment or bullying at school. The bills both moved with unanimous support. HB 4091 would be known as "Matt's Safe School Law" in honor of Matt EPLING, a 14-year-old from East Lansing who committed suicide after being hazed at school.
The bills' definition of harassment and bullying include what is "reasonably perceived to be motivated by an actual or perceived characteristic, such as height, weight, religion, race, color, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, or by socioeconomic status or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment, or is reasonably perceived to be based on association with another person who has or is perceived to have any of these characteristics or any other distinguishing characteristic."
Under the bills, the Department of Education would develop a model policy within 30 days after the effective date of the legislation. Schools would then have six months to adopt a policy. Within the following year, the department would submit a report to the Senate and House standing committees on Education on the policies.