The Michigan Board of Education stood up to bullying and financial hardships wrought by the state’s GOP incensed over the then proposed transgender-inclusive guidelines. In May they pulled travel funds and per Diem for the predominantly Democratic Education department an action that the Republican senate chairman called “a message” to members in favor of the trans-inclusive measure.
The guidelines, approved 6-2, say districts should allow transgender students to use bathrooms or locker rooms that match their gender identity, although private accommodations should be made for all students upon request according to Mlive.com.
Other parts of the guidelines urge schools to adopt polices that protect LGBT students from harassment and to designate a staff member who can provide students with information or support related to LGBT issues.
Board members Eileen Weiser and Richard Zeile — both Republicans — cast the two votes against the guidance
Kyle Guerrant Of MDE Talks LGBT Guidance
Equality Michigan issued a statement commending the School Boards stand for fairness.
September 14, 2016 – Lansing, MI — After many months of public engagement dialogue and deliberation, the Michigan State Board of Education voted today to adopt the “Guidance on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students.” In response, Equality Michigan commended the Board on their leadership.
“This comprehensive, research-based guidance is an important step toward ensuring that every Michigan student has access to safe schools and equal educational opportunities, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Equality Michigan Executive Director Stephanie White. “The unfortunate reality is that LGBTQ students are subject to pervasive bullying, harassment, and discrimination in Michigan schools, which negatively impacts their health, well-being, and academic achievement.”
The Board’s guidance makes best practice recommendations related to a broad scope of issues impacting school safety and academic achievement, including nondiscrimination policies, staff training, and educational culture. In addition, the guidance provides specific recommendations related to transgender and gender nonconforming students, including affirming that federal civil rights laws protect the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity.
“At a time when far too many of our leaders in Michigan and across the country are focused on scoring political points at the expense of the health and safety of transgender students, our State Board of Education put the needs of students first,” noted White.
To review the final draft of the State Board approved guidance, visit here.