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Students petition for stronger anti-bullying bill

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-994187.mp3

ANN ARBOR, MI –

Two students in Ann Arbor have collected more than 50,000 petition signatures they hope will help strengthen an anti-bullying proposal in the state Legislature. Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber has more.

The students - an 8th grader and an 11th grader - started the online petition in response to a proposal approved by the state Senate earlier this month. The measure would have allowed bullying based on religious or moral convictions. Mark Anthony Dingbaum is with Change-dot-org. That's the website that hosted the petition drive. Dingbaum says the response was quick and overwhelming.

"And so it's been really powerful, and with every signer that's sending a message to the Legislature," he says.

The petition is being sent to Senate Majority Randy Richardville. It calls for an anti-bullying measure that lists characteristics that should be protected from bullying - such as sexual orientation and gender. The kids who started the petition say they were bullied for being gay, or perceived as gay.

Some Republican lawmakers argue that if the bill lists characteristics, it would inadvertently leave some kids unprotected.

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