6,000 JOIN MICHIGAN STUDENTS TO STOP “LICENSE TO BULLY” BILL
Bullied Michigan students are leading campaign of more than 6,000 people demanding Michigan state legislature stop controversial “license to bully” bill.
ANN ARBOR, MI – More than 6,000 people have joined a popular campaign on Change.orgstarted by bullied Michigan students demanding that the Michigan state legislature throw out its recently passed “license to bully bill” (SB 137), which protects bullying based on a “sincerely held religious or moral conviction,” and pass a comprehensive anti-bullying bill.
Katy Butler and Carson Borbely, two students who say they endured brutal bullying in Michigan schools, are leading the campaign on Change.org following the passage of a controversial anti-bullying bill in the Michigan state senate last week. The online petition campaign urges leaders in the Michigan state house and senate to throw out the legislation and approve a comprehensive bill that explicitly lists the reasons students are most often bullied and includes reporting requirements for schools.
“I’m speaking out for all those students who suffer every day at school,” said Butler, a 16-year-old junior at Greenhills High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “I’m speaking out because as students, we deserve a bill that will actually protect us at school, not make it more dangerous, or give bullies a free pass.”
“People keep telling us youth that ‘it gets better,’” Butler added. “Well it can’t get better if you don’t make it better. I’m doing my part to help; please do yours.”
In the past, Butler claims to have endured shoving, harsh name-calling, and an incident when her hand was slammed in a locker door. Her friend Carson Borbely, a thirteen-year-old 8th grader at Ann Arbor District School, identifies as a transgender man and has allegedly been subjected to repeated harassment.
“A few weeks ago in class, I brushed a friend’s hair away from her face,” said Borbely. “A loud voice sharply interrupted, ‘Don’t touch her. Trannies carry diseases.’ The teacher didn’t do anything.”
“That was the fourth incident of harassment in my class – by the same boy. Nothing was done. The only reprimand he got was a sharp calling of his name. The teacher asked him passively to stop. He continued.”
Within 48 hours of the two students launching their campaign for a comprehensive anti-bullying bill, Katy and Carson had recruited more than 5,000 supporters on Change.org, the world’s fastest growing platform for social change. The campaign has spread quickly among teens across Michigan.
“It’s been incredible to watch this campaign explode almost overnight,” said Change.org Organizing Manager Mark Anthony Dingbaum. “Change.org empowers anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and Katy and Carson’s campaignexemplifies that. They’ve effectively injected youth voices into a debate where students have been noticeably absent, and they’ve sent a very clear message to Lansing: We won’t tolerate bullying in schools or at the state capitol.”
The Michigan House of Representatives is likely to consider anti-bullying legislation soon. In the face of public push back, Republican Speaker of the House Jase Bolger is now reportedly considering a stronger, more comprehensive version of the bill. If passed in the state house, the bill will then return to the state senate for approval.
Katy and Carson believe that if enough people sign the online petition campaign, the Michigan state legislature will consider an anti-bullying bill that omits any special exemptions, lists enumerated protections, and includes reporting requirements.