I'm Just A Bill

Ohio Legislators Castrate Anti-Bullying Bill Before Approving

We know that anti-bullying laws are a good thing, so we’re happy that Ohio Senate Education Committee just passed the so-called “Jessica Logan Act,” designed to stop harassment of students on and off campus. But we’re pissed that the bill was pretty much declawed before it passed.

According to Equality Ohio director Ed Mullen, the committee only passed HB116 after it was stripped of, “a provision that would prohibit bullying based on any real or perceived characteristics of the student, such as race, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, and the bill did not include enumeration of particular characteristics.”

What else do kids terrorize other kids about if not “real or perceived characteristics”—what kind of peanut butter their mom makes their sandwiches with?

Mullen explains how important it is to spell out what kind of attacks aren’t kosher: “In Ohio, nearly one-fifth (18%) of Ohio students at schools with generic policies felt unsafe, while only 2% of students at schools with enumerated policies did… LGBT students in states that don’t require enumeration have the same experience of bullying as those without any anti-bullying and harassment laws at all.”

Now HB116 looks so vague the only way it can protect LGBT students is if they roll it up and hit their attackers with it.

Photo: Schoolhouse Rocks


Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #anti-bullyinglaws #equalityohio #jessicaloganact stories and more


  • HM

    It’s the “My Christian kid should be able to call you a fag” clause…..

  • Danny

    It’s the “How many more kids can we get to drop out and become a financial burden on taxpayers” bill. Less than a third of Ohio students are even grade level proficient in math, science, and reading. It is sad. Politicians are corrupt and voters are to apathetic or dumb to change things.

  • Kylew

    Is it possible that the vagueness actually enables it to catch a wider range of bullying behaviours, rather than limiting those specific behaviours deemed unacceptable?

  • timncguy

    @Kylew: No, it’s not possible or it would be working in other states with vague laws. What it does is give authority figures an “out” to ignore bullying of LGBT students because they don’t want to perceive it as wrong and it’s not specified in the law so they don’t have to. It is done this way because the anti-gay bigots won’t vote for it if it specifies anything LGBT. They don’t want any “rights” for LGBT students to be codified in law anywhere.

  • Kylew

    @timncguy: Okay, fair enough. I thought that bullying legislation with deliberate vagueness might cast a wider net, but I can see what you are saying, that it enables lawyers to exempt their clients from action.

    TBH, I don’t think that this is something for the courts to handle anyway – it should be the schools in the first instance, and soo many of them are lazy about it. They pay lip service to anti bullying but offer little meaningful assistance.

    That being said, it’s very difficult sometimes to discern bullying from normal youthful whining.

  • Jonathonz

    Could it be because the christians are spreading their version of love and light again?

  • Cynthia Logan

    I had no idea they removed the most important part of this act. I was told they removed “off school property” and added “buses-who would be responsible to report abuse”

    I am on top of it now.

    I sent an email to the Senator who chooses which bill will be voted on in the Ohio Senate house.

    I posted my email to my personal page and have the responses from parents who have lost children to Bullycide:
    Our State did it again….

    I was called by the sponsoring Senator who wanted me to know the Jessica Logan Act and was being voted on in the Senate committee and was able to witness The Jessica Logan Act being passed through the committee and was very happy. I knew they removed “off school property.”
    I was okay with that because they added school buses, as well as cyber-bullying policies being sent home with parents and letters being sent to parents if their child is a target or the abusive student.

    I found out the foundation of the Act was stripped. I was also told the president (Senator Niehaus) will be the one who choose which bill will go before the senate floor to be voted on.

    I just finished writing the following e-mail to this Senator.
    Dear Senator Niehaus,

    I am Jessica Logan’s mother, Cynthia.

    I am writing to you today because I was told you choose which bills will be on the docket for senate votes.

    I was very surprised to find out the most important part of the “Jessica Logan Act” was removed before it passed the committee hearing on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

    Why would our Senators and Representatives dismiss the realization “that would prohibit bullying based on any real or perceived characteristics of the student, such as race, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, and the bill did not include enumeration of particular characteristics?”

    Every single student that attends school must feel safe as well as their well-being be protected. It is the basis of learning in a school environment.
    This is a moral and ethical Act. When the foundation of the “Jessica Logan Act” was stripped of the above provisions, our Ohio children lose again.

    I am truly concerned our Senators and Representatives who have the opportunity to pass an Act with substance, missed the mark.

    Would you, Senator Niehaus and your fellow constituents reconsider the provision above, which is an extremely important part of this act?

    Please inform me when you decide to vote on the “Jessica Logan Act.”

    Thank you for your time and re-consideration on this subject matter.

    Cynthia Logan

    Yvonne: Cynthia, they want the glory but don’t want the hassle of having an effective act, that’s why they create toothless dragons!

    Cynthia Logan: Thank you, Yvonne. What a bunch of nonsense. I have no idea why they would remove the meat of this act? I am totally disgusted with the lot of them. I have to wait another week to hear back …or not…

    Yvonne: They want to be seen to be doing something, but don’t want to risk deselection by actually taking action against a young person whose parents may be amongst their voters. It’s the same the world over, unfortunately.

    Brad: essentially they have done what they did to Matts law, slimy bastards…

    Cynthia Logan: We are in an election year…that says it all, don’t you think?

    Yvonne: And I didn’t even know that!

  • Anastasia P

    I know that I am in a difference space on this than a lot of people, but I disagree with trying to list all the categories of people being bullied. To me it’s about the behavior of the bullier, not about the characteristics of who is being bullied. if kids want to pick on someone, they will find an excuse to do it – or they will need no excuse at all.

  • Kylew

    @Anastasia P: Actually, I agree with you. It should the general behaviour that is illegal, not the specific named victim.

Comments are closed.