Michigan board approves LGBT guidance to schools

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Michigan’s education board has approved guidance to schools on creating an inclusive environment for LGBT students.

The guidelines are voluntary but have spurred criticism from conservative lawmakers, particularly over restroom and bathroom policies for transgender students.

The Democratic-controlled State Board of Education passed the guidance 6-2 Wednesday, after receiving passionate public testimony from people in support and against.

>>READ: Michigan Board of Education statement, LGBT guidance (pdf)

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Education officials say the draft guidance was amended to encourage local school districts to engage their communities in the development of their own policies and to urge greater consideration for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. Critics say the revisions are meaningless.

The Diocese of Grand Rapids released the following statement Thursday regarding the LGBT guidelines approved by the state:

“The guidelines passed by the State Board of Education in Michigan today are not congruent with Catholic teaching. I would like to assure parents of children in our Catholic schools that these guidelines do not apply to our Catholic schools and we will stand firm in our belief that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God, male and female. We believe that a person’s sexual identity is determined at conception.

Our schools will accept and support all students with respect and work to create cultures that protect young people from bullying or harassment of any kind. In situations where students may be questioning their identity; parents and educators will work together closely to determine the proper support necessary to meet the needs of these and all students.”

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