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New Guidance from Michigan Board of Education Pushes State Schools to Allow Students to Pick Gender Identities

New Guidance from Michigan Board of Education Pushes State Schools to Allow Students to Pick Gender Identities

New recommendations drafted by Michigan’s State Board of Education is pushing for the state’s schools to allow for students to choose their “gender, name, pronouns and bathrooms” regardless of “parental or doctoral input,” said The Daily Caller.

"Spearheaded by board president John C. Austin and signed by state superintendent Brian Whiston, the guidance informs Michigan public schools that only the students themselves–i.e. not their parents or doctors–can determine what their individual gender identities are,” the article said.

The guidance would give students the ability to include their preferred name and gender in district’s information management systems alongside their legal name.

It also states that transgendered students should be allowed to use locker rooms and bathrooms according to the gender they identify with, and it is on the burden of students bothered by this to request an “adjusted changing schedule” or “use of a private area in the facility.”

This guidance, an articulation of tolerance for LGBT students in schools, is different from legislation that had previously made headlines earlier this year.

In South Dakota, legislation was voted on that would be the first to formally ban transgendered students from using the locker rooms of the gender they identify with. Though the legislation passed in both the House and the Senate, the state’s Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed the measure.

Many education experts have made clear that this practice of banning transgendered students from preferred areas can be detrimental to their growth.

In Illinois, for example, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights ruled that Township High School District 211 was in the wrong for embarrassing and inconveniencing a transgendered student who was not allowed to use the bathroom or locker room she identified with.

The OCR ruled that it would impose sanctions if the school did not change its ways.

The OCR decision was only intended to be applicable to Township High School District 211, but the implications were widespread as the OCR revealed its stance.

In Michigan, the Board will finalize the guidance on May 10th. The public has until April 11th to comment on the proposal. The guidance can be viewed here. 

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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