What’s your experience with bullies?

Mar 2, 2011

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission wants public input about bullying. The commission works to prevent and investigate discrimination complaints under state civil rights laws. It’s holding a series of forums across the state to collect the information in hopes of tackling what they say is a growing problem.

17-year-old Calandra Jones was one of dozens in Grand Rapids Tuesday night who shared their experience facing bullies in school and in the workplace. Jones faced racist comments from kids at school, but said being teased about having a big forehead, being short, wearing glasses and braces also had a deep impact on her.

“Its not one of those things that fades over time like racism might or like sexism might. I’m growing up and I’m seeing kids, 3-years-old, 4-years-old, my little sister is going through the same things I went through and I think it’s time for it to stop.”

What they're doing about it

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is taking testimony like Jones’ to come up with a plan to prevent and correct bullying. Commissioner Bertram Marks says that could include issuing a report on the depth of the problem and pushing legislators to adopt new anti-bullying laws.

“It’s not just an exercise in hearing ourselves talk or listening to other people talk just for the sake of saying ‘we did it’. These are fact finding forums and we’re soliciting the facts from the people who are impacted by this very important issue.”

The first hearing was earlier this year in Detroit. Another is scheduled for next month in Marquette. Anyone can submit written testimony online to Jacki Miller at millerj31@michigan.gov.