Michigan’s State Board of Education has drafted a guidance that would push the state’s schools to allow all students, regardless of parental or doctoral input, to choose their gender, name, pronouns, and bathrooms.
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 responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student. Outside confirmation from medical or mental health professionals, or documentation of legal changes, is not needed,” the guidance states.
Gender identity is defined in the guidance as “a person’s deeply held internal sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the biological sex they were assigned at birth.”
Notably, the guidance makes no mention of a student’s age affecting whether or not they can pick a gender without their parent or doctor.
In fact, the guidance seems to intentionally cut parents out of the process.
The guidance states: “School staff should address students by their chosen name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity, regardless of whether there has been a legal name change.”
Students can even ask to have their chosen name and gender “included in the district’s information management systems, in addition to the student’s legal name.”
But what about when school staff members are speaking with parents about their son or daughter?
The guidance states that “Transgender and GNC [gender nonconforming] students have the right to decide when, with whom, and to what extent to share private information.”
Accordingly, the board makes clear, “When contacting the parent/guardian of a transgender or GNC student, school staff should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s assigned sex at birth, unless the student or parent/guardian has specified otherwise.”
In other words, a boy named “Jake” could become a girl named “Jane” at school, seemingly without his parents ever knowing.
Names, pronouns, and genders aren’t the only things the board wants students to choose.
The guidance informs schools that “Students should be allowed to use the restroom in accordance with their gender identity.”
And the board makes clear that single-stall bathrooms are not inclusive enough: “Alternative and non-stigmatizing options, such as an all-gender or singleuser restroom (e.g., staff bathroom or nurse’s office), should be made available to students who request them, but not presented as the only option.”
Locker rooms also should become inclusive of students’ many gender identities. “A student should not be required to use a locker room that is incongruent with their gender identity,” the guidance states. “Locker room usage should be determined on a case-by-case basis, using the guiding principles of safety and honoring the student’s gender identity and expression.”
Students who are bothered by having members of the opposite sex in their locker rooms can request “an adjusted changing schedule” or “use of a private area in the facility.”The purpose of the guidance, according to the document, is to further the state’s “goals of cultivating and sustaining caring, supportive, respectful, and affirming learning environments that provide for the education, safety, and welfare of all students.”
The board quietly issued the statement and guidance on February 23rd, without a press release. The public has only until April 11th to comment on the proposed guidance, according to the Department of Education website. The board will finalize the guidance at a meeting on May 10th.
Board president John Austin did not immediately reply to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.
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