Thursday, September 15, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan's education board has approved guidance to schools on creating an inclusive environment for LGBTQ students.
The guidelines are voluntary but have spurred criticism from conservative lawmakers, particularly over restroom and bathroom policies for transgender students.
The State Board of Education voted 6-2 Wednesday afternoon in favor of the guidance after receiving additional public comments.
Equality Michigan released the following statement after the vote: 
Today, we won an important victory for LGBTQ students and school safety. The State Board of Education voted 6-2 to adopt a guidance on how Michigan schools can create safe learning environments for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This guidance is the result of months of hard work by pro-equality advocates and organizations from across Michigan working together and speaking with one voice. It’s one more example of what our community can accomplish when we stand united in support of full equality.
At a time when far too many politicians are trying to score political points at the expense of the LGBTQ community, Equality Michigan commends the State Board, particularly President John Austin, for their unwavering support of this important guidance. When our opponents tried to threaten and intimidate these pro-equality public officials, they stood strong. The importance of their commitment cannot be overstated. As far too many of you are all too aware, anti-LGBTQ bullying, harassment, and violence are pervasive in our schools.
Proposed recommendations to schools include making good faith efforts to address students by their chosen name and pronoun when asked. The guidance also urges schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
Education officials say the draft guidance was amended to encourage local school districts to engage their communities in the development of their own policies and to urge greater consideration for parental involvement.

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