Republican state Sen. Rick Jones, the bill's sponsor, told ABC News today that the GOP wanted to make sure students' First Amendment rights were protected.
"There were some caucus members who worried that if a child stood up in sex education class or speech class and made a statement: 'In my religion, I don't believe in gay marriage,' or something, they didn't want the child to be evicted from school for just making a statement," he said.
The state lawmaker said the bill was personal to him because his son, now 31, had been a victim of bullying, and because a friend's granddaughter had fatally shot herself after being bullied.
"Nothing in the bill is intended that the child could confront another child and abuse them in any way," Jones told ABC News today. "I wouldn't have a problem with some of the language being removed as long as it was very clear that a student's First Amendment rights were protected. ... There is no intent on my part to justify bullying, in any form."
Well, that's very nice of you, Senator. It's good to hear that you don't want to "justify bullying in any form". It does make me wonder why you said this to local WOOD TV-8 though.
State Sen. Rick Jones, the Republican sponsor of the bill, accused Democrats of playing politics.
"Many of the people who made statements are running for higher office."
He also accused Flanagan, the state school superintendent, of playing politics. He called him a "buffoon."
"Mr. Flanagan was first appointed by Governor Granholm. He works for many Democrats up there on the state Board of Education," Jones said. "I consider the school board superintendent, Mr. Flanagan, to be a man that doesn't think things out before he speaks."
Jones said the new language, proposed by Sen. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale County, protects free speech.
"What if a student stood up in sex education class or English class and made a statement, 'In my religion, I'm against homosexuality'?" Jones said. "That student shouldn't just be thrown out of school. He wasn't bullying anybody."
Maybe ABC left out the part where you tried to bully the Democrats, huh? Where you just dismiss their complaints and accuse them of ulterior motives and call them names? You know, like any bully would? Yeah, that must be it. It couldn't be that you act like a total pompous jackass here in state, and then change your tune when the big boys come around for a quote.
No, that couldn't be it at all...