(WLNS) – The State Board of Education is proposing a set of policies including gender neutral bathrooms, name changing in school and more gay-straight alliance clubs for LGBTQ students in K-12 schools.
The President of the Board, John Austin, believes these changes could make a major impact on the learning environment for students who identify as LGBTQ.
“This is helping gay kids get the same crack at a comfortable school where they feel safe, and where they can get a great education,” Austin said.
The State Board of Education has received calls from schools across Michigan with questions on how to address these concerns, and Chris Wigent with the Michigan Association of School Administrators says it needed to be addressed.
“This is one more issue that needs to be dealt with so that we can continue to put the focus on student learning and what’s going on in the classroom,” Wigent said.
Some lawmakers however, didn’t waste any time to speak out, saying there are more important things for schools to focus on and that letting students take control of their name and identity without consulting the parents is a dangerous road to travel down.
“We need to be focusing on increasing the literacy rates in the state, we need to be making college more affordable, but most of all we should not be taking the parents out of the equation of how their children are being raised,” State Representative Ed McBroom said.
Austin says these measure could improve grades and overall atmosphere for LGBTQ students, but McBroom disagrees, saying it would do the opposite, by distracting from the focus on the classroom.
“It just is going to promote chaos and it does not become a conducive environment for learning,” McBroom said.
The proposal would not be mandatory but would become a guideline if passed at the vote on May 11.