A petition calling on state lawmakers to approve a strong anti-bullying bill has received more than 50,000 signatures.
The petition was started by an 11th grader and an 8th grader in Ann Arbor, on the website change.org.
Mark Anthony Dingbaum, with change.org, said the two students – Katy and Carson – want the bill to list characteristics that should be protected from bullying.
He said the students who started the petition have first-hand experience with bullying.
“They identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, across the board,” said Dingbaum. “And I know that they’ve spoken out on this issue before, and I know that they were very interested in having their voice injected into the conversation this time.”
Dingbaum said the current proposal leaves gay students out of the conversation and unprotected.
“In the process I think these students voices are getting lost, and I think what’s been really inspiring for me in hearing Katy and Carson’s story is that those groups, those enumerated groups, those enumerated protections in the bill are essential because they are the groups that are most likely to be bullied in school,” said Dingbaum.
The petition also calls on lawmakers to require schools to report bullying incidents to the state.
Democratic leaders in the state Senate say the anti-bullying measure approved by the state House last week is not perfect, but it’s a good start. They say they hope to approve that bill in a couple weeks, and will continue to push for listing and reporting requirements in the future.