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Matt's Safe School Law: Possible in 2009 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Erica Weiss   
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 20:38

One of the more debated bills that expired in December 2008 was called Matt's Safe School. This legislation was named after Matt Epling from East Lansing. Matt was a victim of school bullying by older students and eventually resulted with Matt taking his own life in 2002. In December the bills to pass Matt's Safe School Law into effect expired after two years in the legislature.  Senator Wayne Kuipers, Chair of the Education Committee in the Senate commented that the bill "had support from both sides of the aisle." However, after a two-year stint in congress, a new piece of anti-bullying legislation will have to be introduced. There is hope for those who support the idea of anti-bullying legislation and in particular Matt's Safe School Law as Senator Anderson plans to re-introduce it in the 2009-2010 term. Additionally, Pam Brynes, Speaker Pro Tempore of the House agreed that this legislation is a top priority for her office, "schools should be places where students learn and prepare themselves for the future. Schools must provide a safe environment that is conducive to learning."

 


 

            The opposition to the bill had rumors of it being a bill to establish more rights and protections for those identifying as LGBT students. However, when I contacted the Senator held accountable for stopping the bill, Senator Alan Cropsey's office held that they were simply against initiating legislation at the state level that is unnecessary considering that most schools in his district reported already having anti-bullying policies. The Senators office claimed that if the right anti-bullying legislation came across the Senator would of course consider it, especially if it just simply established that all schools must have their own anti-bullying policy that is specific to the problems in their schools.

            It would seem that the controversy over the bill is whether it is necessary to have a state-wide anti-bullying policy or allow school districts themselves decide what type of anti-bullying policy they would like to have. At the end of the day however, both sides would agree that protection for all kids is extremely important and the disagreement is over how an anti-bullying policy should be put into effect. 

 

An Article from Lansing State Journal Regarding the legislation not passing: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20090104/DEWITTBATH01/901040471/1185/DEWITTBATH

The following are the 2007 versions of the Matt's Safe School Law that were introduced: 

HB 4162

HB 4091

 

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