• Petitioned Michigan State House

This petition was delivered to:

Michigan State House

Tell the Michigan House to pass an anti-bullying law that matters

    1. Petition by

      Equality Michigan

Michigan Senate Republicans have failed Michigan’s children by giving students a new “license to bully.” Politics came first and our children came last.

On November 2, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill 137 by a vote of 26-11. In a stunning show of disrespect for our students, the bill allows a student to bully based on religious beliefs. This provision was added a half-hour before the vote by right-wing Republicans:

“This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil and parent or guardian.”

This week's debate and vote in Lansing clearly signals that right-wing conservatives are unwilling to do what's right for our state. Senator Gretchen Whitmer summed up the action in her floor speech to the majority:

"You may be able to pat yourselves on the back today and say that you did something, but in actuality you are explicitly outlining how to get away with bullying. Your exceptions have swallowed the rule. As passed today, bullying kids is OK if a student, parent, teacher or school employee can come up with a moral or religious reason for doing it."

This action is outrageous and an embarrassment for Michigan. Do you want a state government that keeps our kids safe or one that condones religious hate speech? We must make our voices heard and demand a law that doesn’t have special exceptions, does enumerate the reasons that students are most often targeted, and adds reporting requirements.

The law will now be sent to the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration. Send a message to your House Representative and tell them to fix this awful bill!

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,500 signatures
    2. Michigan Republicans Legalize Religious Anti-Gay Bullying

      Michael Patrick Shiels spoke with Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer about her passionate words against anti-bullying legislation passed in the Senate, which have gone viral. Senator Whitmer will appear on Anderson Cooper tonight.

    3. Meeting on Wednesday!

      ALERT: The House Education Committee will have a hearing on Michigan's "anti-bullying" bill this Wednesday. The time and location has not been announced, but we will need your help to show up and testify against the version of the bill passed last week and for a strong bill. We will alert you as soon as the time and location is released.

    4. Reached 1,000 signatures
    5. 'License to Bully': Backlash Over Matt Epling Bill Passed in Michigan Senat

      LGBT advocates and the father of the boy for whom a Michigan anti-bullying law is named are slamming the state senate, claiming a last-minute First Amendment tweak gives "a major green light" to school bullies.

      The Michigan Senate this week passed a bill to authorize the law, Matt's Safe School Law, which is named after Matt Epling, a freshman from East Lansing, Mich., who killed himself after being bullied by upperclassmen in 2002.

    6. Reached 750 signatures
    7. Why Does Michigan’s Anti-Bullying Bill Protect Religious Tormenters?

      As a transplanted Michigander, I’ve always maintained pride in my home state. I’ve only owned American cars. I believed in the Lions even during the really dismal years. I still point to my hand to show people which part of the state I’m from.

      But the Michigan legislature is doing its best to make me hang my head in shame. On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled state senate passed an anti-bullying bill that manages to protect school bullies instead of those they victimize. It accomplishes this impressive feat by allowing students, teachers, and other school employees to claim that “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” justifies their harassment.

    8. Is Michigan's proposed anti-bullying legislation actually a license to bull

      MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A number of people in Michigan feel an anti-bullying bill that passed the State Senate on Wednesday isn't really against bullying, but is instead a license to bully.

      That bill is now headed to the House for consideration.

      The bill requires school districts to have anti-bullying policies, about a quarter of Michigan school do not currently have such policies, but some are saying that as the bill now stands, there are loopholes in it so big, the bill does more harm than good.

      Heavan Setler says she was the victim of bullying while in elementary school.

      “I was scared to go to school,” said Setler. “I used to love getting up and going to school, after that happened I would hide from my mom, tell her things to not go to school. Eventually I ended up transferring out of that school.”

    9. Reached 100 signatures
    10. Here's what the State Superintendent said today:

      “There should never be an excuse or reason or justification for anyone to bully, intimidate, or harass a student. I cannot imagine any real moral conviction or religious teaching that says it acceptable to inflict pain, humiliation, and suffering on another person, especially a child. The legislation, as passed by the Michigan Senate, is a disappointing development in a process that we have worked on so diligently together for the protection of all schoolchildren in Michigan. After my long relationship with families of children who have committed suicide after being bullied, I find this bill now to be a joke, especially as it is named in memory of one of those children.”

      Mike Flanagan, Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction

    11. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Lynn Rock BOYNE CITY, MI
      • almost 3 years ago

      A year a go my daughter was bullied out of her second school. According to the bullys statement it was because of her religion. According to the mothers statement she had issues with my daughter taking medication for her learning disability. According to Senator Walker's office there is nothing they can do at the state level, they suggested that we just switch schools. Switching schools was also the response I received from our state Representative MacMasters. Letters were sent to both which also included the police report on August 1, 2011. That is what we are up against, their answer is change schools or move we are not interested in helping out kids!

      Local law Prosecutor's office states, we are sorry but until some kid is seriously hurt we are not interested in up holding your child's rights.

    • Jackie Shepard LANSING, MI
      • almost 3 years ago

      I'm signing because I know how cruel kids can be, and to give them license to bully if it's for "religious reasons" is wrong. WARS start for religious reasons. There should be NO exemption. Harming another person, even emotionally, should never be okay.

    • Darrell Bartlett CHICO, CA
      • almost 3 years ago

      A friend was telling me what the Michigan Senate has done. If I had heard this casually from a partisan person, I would have dismissed it as an anti-Republican myth, poorly writ. But then he sent me the link. HOW DARE YOU!

    • Emily O'Kon MASON, MI
      • almost 3 years ago

      Your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins.

    • Mary turnberg SAN DIEGO, CA
      • almost 3 years ago

      I am a school counselor. I see everyday how bullying hurts kids. There is NO reason EVER that could justify treating another human being this way.


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.