LANSING — A new memorandum from the State Department of Education has spurred controversy. ABC 10’s Sarah Mac has more on what people on both sides are saying.
A new memorandum from the State Department of Education outlines policies for safe and supportive learning environments for LGBTQ students in schools in hopes that students who identify in this group will experience less harassment.
The document encourages schools to provide single use bathrooms, provide developmentally–appropriate information on LGBTQ issues in the library, and dress code among other items. The guidelines are strictly voluntary and in hopes that schools will look deeper into the matter at the local level.
State Board of Education President John Austin says, “Those are issues we’re encouraging communities to work out with their schools, with their parents, with their kids, which they are doing around Michigan, to figure out what’s going to work best on a case by case basis with the individuals. And that’s all this guidance is saying, is it’s important to do that at the local level, it’s important to have parents and school personnel and students talk together and figure out what’s going to work for everybody and make everybody both safe and comfortable, but we have to embrace these kids as who they are.”
Senator Tom Casperson is looking to introduce legislation in response to this memo – saying he finds it hard to believe that the board would draft a document that would change the public education system without informing the public first and asking for public consent.
“It’s real simple, I just hope that the parental involvement becomes a priority,” Casperson added, “and that protection of all the kids becomes a priority, and that we do reach out and offer some help to these young people that might be struggling, but we have to consider everybody in the equation we can’t just consider the one scenario that they’re talking about.”
According to the department a public comment period is open until April 11th.
To participate in the online public comment click here.