Work continues on draft guidelines for LGBTQ students

LANSING — The State Board of Education and the Michigan Department of Education are continuing to work on a draft of guidelines for schools in dealing with the needs of LGBQT students.

The State Board drafted a document giving school administrators and teachers recommendations on how to maintain a supportive learning environment for those students. The process for creating the document included asking for public comment, which resulted in the receipt of over 13,000 responses.

According to the department, these comments varied widely, providing both positive and negative feedback. The state board will be pushing back discussion of the document at its August meeting to take time to organize the wide variety of comments.

“The department is helping the board of education review and sort of categorize these comments, review them and so making it easier for the board to go through, weigh the feedback, and see if they want to make any changes to the draft document” said Michigan Department of Education Spokesperson, Bill DiSessa.

The draft was originally created by a group consisting of parents, teachers, students, administrators, and other stakeholders. If the draft is later passed, all the recommendations listed will be completely voluntary.

“It’s simply a set of recommendations for districts around the state to take a look at and if they decide to, they can abide by and follow those recommendations” DiSessa continued. “In other words, it’s not a mandatory document.”

There is no set date for the draft to be discussed, but it will likely be on the September meeting’s agenda. State Senator Tom Casperson introduced legislation in response to the document’s initial draft release back in March. His bill – which was referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee in May – would require Michigan students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their birth gender.