Michigan Board of Education opens bathrooms, showers to ‘transgender’ students

Sep 20, 2016 by

Lisa Bourne –

Michigan’s Democrat-controlled State Board of Education approved guidelines last week saying “transgender” students should have access in the state’s public schools to the bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex.

And while the guidelines provide for any student desiring privacy to have access to single-user or gender-neutral facilities, they include a strong reminder that “current interpretation of federal civil rights laws protect the right of transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity if they so choose.”

The guidelines, which are voluntary, were approved 6-2 by the Board on Wednesday after a three-hour public comment period, MLive reported, and more than 13,000 comments on the guidance made on the Michigan Department of Education website since February.

They call for school policies protecting LGBT students from harassment and for schools to assign a staff member to provide students with LGBT-related information or support, as well as LGBTQ-focused  professional development opportunities for anyone who interacts with students, and “developmentally-appropriate information about LGBTQ issues” in school libraries and other common areas open to students and faculty.

Mirroring the Obama administration’s controversial guidelines threatening public schools nationwide with withholding of federal funding should they maintain separate intimate facilities, the Michigan Department of Education expects staff to take part in using the pronouns of choice for “transgender” students, and defers to the ‘transgender” student when it comes to overnight school activities.

Staff should “engage in reasonable good faith efforts” to address students by their chosen name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity, the guidelines state, and also that, “When considering overnight accommodations, situations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, seeking solutions that are inclusive, respectful, and acceptable to the student and do not impose an additional expense or burden on the student.”

Board member Eileen Weiser, one of two Republicans to vote against the guidelines, said she did so in part because they are voluntary, stating, “These guidelines don’t have any basis in law. That’s the unfortunate part.”

Weiser further said no “paper is going to change hearts, minds, or practices in schools,” and that the system should address bullying as a whole, not in a single policy for one group of students.

She also cited the current federal ruling blocking the Obama “transgender” guidance.

“We have one branch of state government saying this can’t happen, and we’re about to say this should happen,” Weiser stated in a report from The Detroit News. “That makes no sense to me.”

Weiser and co-board member Richard Zeile weren’t the only members of the GOP to speak against the State Board of Education guidance, whether over legal concerns or issues of privacy and safety.

Republican State Representative Gary Glenn, who is co-sponsoring a measure restricting bathroom access in schools or government buildings on the basis of biological sex, opposed the guidance, saying the “obvious” solution is to provide separate facilities for “transgender” students.

“If a child is suffering the delusion that they are of the opposite sex, then I think the compassionate thing to do is to allow them to use a restroom in privacy or a locker room in privacy,” Glenn said, “rather than force the 99 percent of children who don’t suffer this delusion to be confronted with something that will put their modesty and comfort in question.”

State Senator Patrick Colbeck cited the federal lawsuit in criticizing the guidance as well.

“The policy guidelines before us have no substantive changes reflecting the voice of the majority of citizens who provided comment,” Colbeck said. “Instead, this body appears to be on the verge of adopting these guidelines on the basis of what government officials in (Washington) D.C. say they should be.”

Just before the Michigan Board of Education’s September 14 approval of the guidance, former state Representative Tom McMillin, who is running for the State Board of Education, called the policy recommendations “an assault” on students and parents.

“Already there are reports in other countries and other parts of our country of mischievous boys taking advantage of this kind of policy to go into girls locker rooms and harass girls, bringing them to tears,” McMillin stated. “But it is clear that you who will be voting yes today have no concern for girls in Michigan.”

Source: Michigan Board of Education opens bathrooms, showers to ‘transgender’ students | News | LifeSite

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