State - Oakland Mediation Center works against bullying

The most recent anti-bullying bill passed by the Michigan House of Representatives on May 13 continues to spark controversy amongst Michigan lawmakers. House Bill 4580 follows a sequence of similar bills once proposed by Michigan legislators that have collectively failed to materialize or become state law.

Michigan remains in the headlines as one of only nine states without an anti-bullying law firmly in place. This year, Massachusetts and Wisconsin joined the ranks of 41 others to become the 42nd and 43rd states, respectively, to officially pass anti-bullying laws. Michigan lawmakers attribute much of the controversy surrounding the unresolved anti-bullying bill and its predecessors to disagreements over the specific language used to define words like, "bullying" and "harassment."

In the midst of Bill 4580's uncertain future, Gov. Jennifer Granholm's intentions have certainly not been derailed. Remaining committed to the cause, she reminds lawmakers that, "Here in Michigan, and across the nation, suicides among young people who have been subjected to bullying demonstrate the need for anti-bullying legislation." With the fate of Bill 4580 now in the hands of the Senate's Education Committee, Oakland Mediation Center continues to do its part in the community by educating youth and implementing "Olweus Bullying Prevention" in schools.

For over 35 years, schools have relied upon the widely-acclaimed "Olweus Bullying Prevention" program to reduce and prevent instances of bullying and improve peer relations amongst elementary and middle school students. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, participating schools have reported an overall reduction of 20 percent to 70 percent in student reports of being bullied, and bullying others.

Anti-bullying legislation has become a matter of national concern in recent years as an increased number of bullying victims and their families have chosen to go public with their stories. Oakland Mediation Center is proud to provide schools with the complete training to successfully implement the "Olweus Bullying Prevention" program into their curriculum.

Since the inception of its Youth Education program in 1999, OMC has empowered 76,973 youth to peacefully resolve conflict themselves through the following programs: "Second-Step", violence prevention; "Peers Making Peace", peer-mediation; "Olweus Bullying Prevention"; "Truancy Prevention"; and Victim-Offender Mediation. To learn more about OMC's youth programs, please contact Youth Services Manager, Kenzi Bisbing, at (248) 338-4280, Ext. 216, or

Published: Thu, Sep 9, 2010