Sen. Garcia “will not support” legislation as written
Trojan Horse “bullying”
bill loses GOP co-sponsor
Loss comes as blow to bill on homosexual activists’ “lobbying day”
LANSING — On a day hundreds of homosexual activists gathered at the state Capitol to pressure lawmakers to support a bill purported to protect public school students from bullying, a Republican state senator who originally co-sponsored the legislation Wednesday announced that he no longer supports the bill and will vote against it as written.
SB 107 co-sponsors: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/….2007-SB-0107
Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell, one of only four Republicans listed among twenty co-sponsors of Democratic Sen. Glenn Anderson’s Senate Bill 107, said Wednesday in an e-mail to the American Family Association of Michigan that while he supports protecting students from bullying, he was not aware of the bill’s specific provisions until after agreeing to co-sponsor it.
(See full text of Garcia e-mail below)
The loss of a senator previously on record supporting the legislation came as a blow to the bill’s supporters on the day hundreds of homosexual activists gathered at the state Capitol for a so-called “Safe Schools Lobbying Day,” specifically intended to pressure more state senators to support the bill.
AFA-Michigan President Gary Glenn, Midland, predicted the bill may lose other original co-sponsors as well, and not just among the three remaining Republicans — Sen. Bruce Patterson, R-Canton, Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, and Sen. Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks.
Glenn has characterized the bill as “Trojan Horse” legislation that would have no real effect on bullying but is backed by homosexual activist groups who hope to use legitimate concerns about student safety as a ruse to establish — for the first time ever, anywhere in Michigan law — special “protected class” status based on homosexual behavior and cross-dressing.
Garcia’s letter proves that even some solidly conservative lawmakers were initially misled, he said.
“After being told that the goal was to prevent bullying in our public schools, a concept I support, I signed on as a co-sponsor of this legislation,” Garcia wrote Glenn. “It was not until after the bill was introduced that I became aware of the exact definition of ‘harassment and bullying’ used in the bill, giving me serious concern about the bill’s intent. Because the bill gave special protection to certain groups of people, I immediately contacted the bill sponsor and told him that I could not support the bill as drafted and urged him to amend the bill so I could support it.”
Garcia concluded that “should this bill come before (the Senate) for consideration with no changes to the current definition of ‘harassment or bullying,’ I will not support the legislation.”
Glenn praised Garcia’s record on family values issues in the Senate and said the GOP lawmaker’s experience “is proof of the deceptive nature of this Trojan Horse legislation and the way homosexual activist groups and their Democratic allies have tried to mislead not only state legislators but the general public.”
Glenn said SB 107 as written would require public schools to segregate students into special “protected” class categories, then dole out protection against bullying to students based on their membership in those categories — including, for the first time ever in Michigan law, categories based on homosexual behavior and cross-dressing. The precedent of those new segregated categories are the real agenda behind the legislation, he said, proven by the bill’s supporters’ opposition last year to language that instead of creating segregated categories would have simply prohibited bullying against all students, no matter what the motivation.
Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, last year attempted to amend the House version of the legislation to strike the language segregating students into “protected class” categories and replace it with language simply and expressly prohibiting all bullying against all students for all reasons. House Democratic leaders refused to even allow a vote on Moolenaar’s amendment, and the legislation passed the House on a largely party-line vote. http://www.gophouse.com/readarticle.asp?id=4231&District=98
The Michigan Association of School Boards has in the past warned school districts against referring to “sexual orientation” in their anti-harassment policies. As the Oakland Press reported: “Bill Scharffe, director of bylaw and policy services for the Michigan Association of School Boards, advises local districts not to include the term ‘sexual orientation’ in their anti-harassment policies. ‘Schools need to be very careful with that,’ he said, noting that neither federal nor state civil rights laws consider people of a particular sexual orientation a protected class. He added that literal interpretation of ‘sexual orientation’ could include people who gravitate toward any sort of sexual activity, including that with animals, children and corpses.” http://www.theoaklandpress.com…20050313006.shtml
Glenn said he has informed lawmakers and supporters of the legislation that if it is amended to protect all students from bullying without creating precedent-setting “protected class” status for the first time based on homosexual behavior and cross-dressing, AFA-Michigan will no longer urge lawmakers to oppose it.
He noted however, that some lawmakers and mainstream media have opposed the legislation on a broader basis. The Lansing State Journal and the Grand Rapids Press, for example, have editorially opposed state-mandated “bullying” bills, arguing that public school safety is being competently handled by caring local parents, educators, school boards, and law enforcement personnel without mandates by the state Legislature.
Click on the link below to read the full text of Sen. Garcia’s email to AFA-MI:
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 10:05 AM
Subject: Re: Legislative Comment=COMMENT
Dear Mr. Glenn:
I have received several e-mails and phone calls about legislation pending in the Senate regarding bullying in our public schools. This legislation is better known as Matt’s Safe School Law, named for Matt Epling, a teenage boy who committed suicide after being continually harassed at school. This was truly a tragic situation which never should have happened.
I understand there is some confusion about my stance on this legislation. Senate Bill 107 was drafted by Senator Glenn Anderson who asked me to be a co-sponsor. After being told that the goal was to prevent bullying in our public schools, a concept I support, I signed on as a co-sponsor of this legislation. It was not until after the bill was introduced that I became aware of the exact definition of “harassment and bullying” used in the bill, giving me serious concern about the bill’s intent.
Because the bill gave special protection to certain groups of people, I immediately contacted the bill sponsor and told him that I could not support the bill as drafted and urged him to amend the bill so I could support it.
I feel strongly all of our students should feel safe while they are at school. Instead, the definition picks out certain characteristics and says these are the reasons people get harassed and bullied. That is simply not the case. Anyone can be bullied for any reason, not just those listed within the definition. I would like to reiterate, I am not opposed to protecting students from bullying and harassment, I simply feel we need to provide a definition that is in the best interest of ALL students not just some.
The bill is in the process of being significantly changed and I support the changes coming. However, should this bill come before me for consideration with no changes to the current definition of “harassment or bullying” I will not support the legislation. I would remove my name as co-sponsor at that time (due to the Senate rules, I am unable to do so sooner in the process). I am very willing to work with the sponsor of the Senate Bill 107 to find a more useful and all encompassing definition for “harassment and bullying” so ALL students feel safe.
I hope this helps explain my reason for originally co-sponsoring Senate Bill 107 and clearly indicates my intentions should this legislation be considered in the full Senate.