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Snyder Signs Anti-Bullying Bill

New law mandates school districts to develop and enforce policies.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill Tuesday that gives school districts six months to develop "clear anti-bullying policies" that are required to be in place by the beginning of the next school year.

“This legislation sends a clear message that bullying is wrong in all its forms and will not be tolerated,” Snyder said in a news release. “No child should feel intimidated or afraid to come to school.”

Districts have to hold a public hearing on the policy. Those districts that already have a policy that complies with the law — such as the Hartland School District in Livingston County — must submit a copy to the Michigan Department of Education within 60 days since the law took immediate effect with Snyder's signature.

A previous Senate version originally attracted national attention because critics said it provided an exception for bullies who have "a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction." But a house version that didn't have that language won out. It also didn't clearly protect students who could be bullied because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Under the new law, the policies must at least include:

  • "A statement prohibiting bullying of a pupil.
  • A statement prohibiting retaliation or false accusation against a target of bullying, a witness, or another person with reliable information about an act of bullying.
  • A provision indicating that all pupils are protected under the policy and that bullying is equally prohibited without regard to its subject matter or motivating animus.
  • The identification by job title of school officials responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented.
  • A statement describing how the policy is to be publicized.
  • A procedure for providing notification to the parent or legal guardian of a victim of bullying and the parent or legal guardian of a perpetrator of the bullying.
  • A procedure for reporting an act of bullying.
  • A procedure for prompt investigation of a report of violation of the policy or a related complaint, identifying either the principal or the principal’s designee as the person responsible for the investigation.
  • A procedure for each public school to document any prohibited incident that is reported and a procedure to report all verified incidents of bullying and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals, to the board of the school district or intermediate school district or board of directors of the public school academy on an annual basis."

In addition, the new law states that the legislature encourages the following:

  • "Provisions to form bullying prevention task forces, programs, teen courts, and other initiatives involving school staff, pupils, school clubs or other student groups, administrators, volunteers, parents, law enforcement, community members, and other stakeholders.
  • A requirement for annual training for administrators, school employees, and volunteers who have significant contact with pupils on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying.
  • A requirement for educational programs for pupils and parents on preventing, identifying, responding to, and reporting incidents of bullying and cyberbullying."
Alan Stamm December 07, 2011 at 12:33 AM
This hits home for our governor, "I was a victim of bullying. I was bullied because I was a nerd," the Associated Press quotes him as saying at the Capitol signing event. He told of being picked on from elementary grades through high school in Battle Creek and then being "pushed around in college for being a nerd" while at U-M. []http://apne.ws/v55isY]
Nancy Smith December 07, 2011 at 12:45 PM
Although I wholeheartedly agree with need, where is the funding to enact many of the policies....especially after continued substantial cuts to schools. Example: The policy is to be publicized. There is a cost. Example: Annual training of for administrators, school employees, and volunteers. There is a cost involved. Is the state going to assist with the financial support?
Jeremy Nielson December 07, 2011 at 02:21 PM
Is this really a concern? . Rochester implemented anti-bullying policies earlier this year, at a time when they had to cut $17 million from their budget. The cost of "implementing" this appeared to be pretty negligible. The district already provides ongoing professional development for staff, and sends out a myriad of communications to parents and community members.
Jerry Grady December 07, 2011 at 03:32 PM
If you do your homework you will find grants all over the country available for helping with this cause. Perhaps having a grant committee on the administration side they could find those funds. Nancy you will find, having done some work on putting a bullying system in place, it is very little dollars and there are many volunteers in the system would would love nothing more than to help. Just ask for it. For those that were never bullied or had a family member bullied, you would not be concerned with the cost, but for those of us who have dealt with it, having this in place provides a more structured process to help resolve the issue and provide a safe harbor for the children. Because at the end of the day isn't our education system supposed to be a safe and secure place to educate our children.
Thomas T December 07, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Maybe Mayor Janice Daniels can come into the Troy Schools twice a year to smugly inform the students why the word "queer" is "just one little word that some people don't like" and that they shouldn't get caught if they plan to use it. But if they do get caught, they should call her office for advice on how to spin it as a positive.
Randy_Perino December 07, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Janice Daniels and Tom McMillin can have David Wisz present a powerpoint presentation to the children titled "If you're gay, leave the State when you're 18"
Thomas T December 07, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Exactly! "Please take your skills, talents, tax revenue and families with you. If for some reason you feel nostalgic, consider participating in our Adopt-A-Tumbleweed program, because our downtown will need some revitalization when all of you are gone."
Susan M. December 15, 2011 at 01:09 PM
Frankly, my concern is with the teachers within the district. There are just a couple out there who make them all look bad. Just a couple of reports: A student is pushed and shoved on the playground, only to have the parapro force him to "stand with his nose on the wall" for being a "tattle-tale." A student does not have the calculator "required" to do the work. He asks the teacher to borrow the classroom one, the teacher loudly ridicules him to the point he is in tears. Other times, she sends him to the principals office since he didn't have the appropriate equipment. I thought the district was required to provide all required tools? At least, that's what it says at the top of my extensive "supplies" list that comes home at the beginning of each year. What about the teachers that allow the elaborate/showy/sometimes costly "requests" placed by students to ask other students to events-like homecoming or prom? Making others feel like they have to ask bigger and better-or don't bother even trying. Or how about those that didn't get asked in such showy displays? Or what about the high school teacher who asks the entire class, "Raise your hand if you're NOT going to homecoming?" When a few hands are raised asks, "Why not?" Pointing out to peers, making the few feel like outcasts and be ostracized by those around them. I've heard these stories and similar ones over the years. So when you put anti-bullying education in place-make sure you start with the teachers.
dk December 16, 2011 at 10:23 AM
He's no nerd, He's a tea partying corporatist more interested in union busting and privitizing our resources than helping our kids, School boards and administrators are too busy worrying about law suits to exercise any common sense, and MI already has the second highest youth prison population in the entire country. We don't need anymore laws turning our kids into felons. You and your parents could have used the laws already on the books to go after your bullies. All you need to do was step up.
dk December 16, 2011 at 10:26 AM
Susan M - So when you put anti-bullying education in place-make sure you start with the teachers. Susan, you "heard" - "stories". Have any proof or facts to back any of that up? Were you there? What context did any of that occur in - if it occurred at all.
dk December 16, 2011 at 10:28 AM
lol - The so called adults in the conservative Republican Party are no model for anyone.
dk December 16, 2011 at 10:31 AM
If you're poor, old, or belong to a union - go with them. Rochester and Troy politicians are laughing stocks. They hate libraries, schools, teachers and still sleep with a picture of Ronald Reagan under their pillows. With the mess they are making of education in this state, no one with a family would move here for job unless they were starving or nuts.
dk December 16, 2011 at 10:36 AM
Thomas T - oh but the corporate tax cuts will fix everything, Those and attacking teachers and destroying our schools. There was a reason Snyder wouldn't debate, and we can all see why now. McMillin needs to go with him. These people aren't Republicans, they're radical ideologues.
marooned in Dbn December 16, 2011 at 11:18 AM
WOW...this guy had a lot of issues with people. After seeing how he screwed our state's retirees, now he can add millions of more ppl to his list that dont like him and would like to give him a "wedgie". All kinds of "requirements", and "procedures". How about we simplify all this gobblygook and just have 1 policy....TWO incidents of reported bullying....and your EXPELLED. Where your guardian/parent sends you after that...will be their concern. NO exceptions.
dk December 16, 2011 at 11:27 AM
Actually, Snyder is the bully. Look at what he's doing to this state.
Frank December 16, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Education in this state has been a joke for quite some time so don't just blame it on the Republicans. Besides the state of education in this state can be traced back to the teachers unions, which all vote Democrat.
Joshua Raymond December 16, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Oakland, you may find this study interesting. http://www.stopbullyingnow.com/Teachers%20Who%20Bully%20Students%20a%20hidden%20trauma.pdf
dk December 17, 2011 at 11:33 AM
Rochester, Troy, Birmingham, Bloomfield are consistantly at the top of the best performing schools in the state, and YOU are paying Snyder, McMillin and the rest of these smucks in Lansing to take a meat cleaver to our kids, schools and property values. You might want to google some facts before you hit publish.
kidcat24 January 21, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Really Frank, do you know the copyright of your children's history books?
TRUTHSEEKER January 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Terrific! Now we need to pass an anti-bullying bill that says politicians, like Shelby Trustee Lisa Manzella, who cyberbully on Facebook to attack residents and her fellow elected officials must resign!

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