Editorial by Kevin Epling, father of Matt Epling for whom the proposed law is named
Contact information for the three state senators:
Sen. Alan Cropsey – Republican of District 33
Office Phone: (517) 373-3760
Sen. Wayne Kuipers – Republican of District 30
Office Phone: (517) 373-6920
Sen. Mike Bishop – Republican of District 12
Office Phone: (517) 373-2417
Adults need to approach the mirror and honestly declare, â€œYou have brought us to this point, you must reverse course.â€ Yet key legislators still ignore parents, fellow lawmakers and the growing research and say â€œbullying is not a problem.â€
Excuses for stopping the bill have been ridiculous at best. Sen. Alan Cropsey killed the bill in 2008 because, â€There was not enough time to review the bill.â€ Now he offers almost the same excuse. What has he or his staff done with their time since it passed the House? He also warns â€œa rise in lawsuits,â€ which has not been substantiated in the other 45 â€œprogressiveâ€ states. In fact a comprehensive plan can help prevent lawsuits.
Sen. Kuipers has now stated he â€œ[a]sked for changes in the language, which was not done.â€ What changes? The language is the same as when he himself voted for it and unanimously passed it from his committee in 2008 to the Senate floor.
So if he approved the language then, why the about-face? Sen. Kuipers also told lobbyist he would attend to the legislation AFTER the primaries (so not to interfere with his campaign) but that never happened either.
Now Sen. Bishop has now joined the chorus telling a lobbyist that â€only important bills will be taken up in lame duck.â€ So our kids’ futures are not important? I am sorry Sen. Bishop but I and other parents and educators think differently. There is nothing more important to help rebuild Michigan than our children.
Lawmakers are still misleading constituents with incorrect information that this is all about giving â€œcertainâ€ kids â€œpreferentialâ€ treatment. Read the bill. Yes, a line states that, â€œ(bullying) is reasonably motivated by animus and perceived characteristicâ€ and that is exactly the basis of WHAT bullying IS. We must understand this before we can implement change.
I find it morally wrong and offensive that the â€œperceived characteristicâ€ of being a â€œNerdâ€ can be used to get someone elected, but others cry foul when we use the same logic to protect children. I find that notion not only being out of touch with todayâ€™s school climate and society, but totally out of line.
Michigan has since lost four additional children to bullycide since 2008. We the public must call and email to prevent opinion from overshadowing democracy. Governor Elect Snyder, as you have begun your transition building, reach out to those within your own party to leave a lasting legacy for our children.
Do not leave this to the next legislature; those within the current legislature deserve to see their work completed. Three menâ€™s opinions should not hold up progress and in turn deliver potential death sentences to more Michigan students.