This past week in my hometown has been a devastating one. Within just one week, two young men committed suicide, both graduates from Lake Orion High School. During the four short years I spent at Lake Orion, there were a total of nine suicides, all current Lake Orion students or recent grads. I sincerely believe this is an epidemic in my town, and I hope that my community can find a way to come together and prevent this from happening again.
A few years ago, students at Lake Orion came together after a sophomore at my school committed suicide. This was a great effort on their part, and hopefully it was effective, but more still needs to be done.
That is why I am in support of Michigan’s new anti-bullying law, passed in the house, which will make bullying illegal in schools, and hopefully will reduce the number of children who feel like they have no where to turn. While not all suicides are caused by bullying, a significant amount are, and we should do anything we can to lower that number. The anti-bullying bill passed in the Michigan senate, however, included some controversial language, and some feel like it still allows bullying, only under religious and moral reasoning though. This has upset Democratic lawmakers in the senate, for good reason:
I feel the language included in the senate bill deeply violates Locke’s view concerning toleration. First, of all, Locke states that “no single, private, person has the right to be prejudice against another person because of his religion.” So why is it that some republican law makers in the Michigan senate feel that as long as your degrading and vulgar actions against a person are rooted in your religion, you should be exempt from this law? These kids that are being bullied are not supposed to be influenced by a religion that they don’t choose to be a part of. I don’t understand why certain lawmakers would feel that it is necessary to protect any form of bullying in the first place. Lock also states, a church is “a voluntary society of men.” A kid attending a public school is not volunteering to be ridiculed and put down by other kids of a certain religion, and it makes me sick after seeing the devastating effects of bullying that lawmakers feel there needs to be any exceptions at all to this anti-bullying law.
Another important component of Locke is when he states no opinions “contrary to human society, or to those moral rules necessary to preservation of civil society are to be tolerated by the magistrate.” Oddly enough, it seems like certain lawmakers in the Michigan senate are doing just the opposite, and making sure that harmful views of certain religions will still be protected by “the magistrate.” Locke believes that it is within the government’s power to forbid any act that is politically harmful, so I am confused as to why lawmakers do not view the degrading effects of bullying as harmful when based on a religious standpoint? Quite frankly I believe no form of bullying should be tolerated at all, religious or not, and I think Locke would agree.