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Yesterday Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a revamped version of “Matt’s Safe School Law,” named after bullying victim Matt Epling, making our state one of the last to finally adopt strong anti-bullying legislation. The bill garnered widespread media attention last month when the version passed by the state Senate included an exception for “a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction[,]” which many school-safety advocates thought would render the law toothless. The version signed into law does not have the controversial exception.

Signing the bill was more than business as usual for Governor Snyder, who spoke of his own experiences as a victim of bullying. The self-proclaimed “nerd” empathized with victims and their families, proclaiming “This legislation sends a clear message that bullying is wrong in all its forms and will not be tolerated.” Kevin Epling, whose son Matt committed suicide in 2002 after being bullied, agreed. “Today we won one for the kids of Michigan[,]” said Epling.

Governor Snyder is right: bullying and intimidation are wrong and children must be protected. Schools need to be safe environments for learning and socializing. Let’s hear it for our lawmakers, who got it right this time, and for all the nerds out there.

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