How will schools navigate transgender bathrooms?

The transgender bathroom debate is back in a legal limbo as states and schools try to navigate this controversial issue.

The debate over how schools handle which bathrooms transgender students are allowed to use is back at the forefront of political discussion today.

Last night, the Trump Administration rescinded an Obama-era guideline on the issue, guidelines that said students should be able to choose which bathroom they use.

The White House and Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, say the issue is best solved at the State and Local level.

This brings up the question: What does this all mean for Michigan?

It’s an issue up for debate on both sides.

Transgender rights advocates say, Federal guidelines that allow students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with are necessary.

But opponents argue, handling it at the Federal level is overreach.

Abigail Hill is a local advocate for transgender rights, she believes, moving the decision making to the local level, is a step in the wrong direction.

“Saying well, you can’t be yourself in school, well that’s like 90 percent of your social experience,” says Hill.

But just because President Trump wants State and Local governments to address the issue, doesn’t mean everything will change.

In fact, the Michigan Department of Education told 6-News, it will stand by the LGBTQ voluntary guidelines approved by the State Board of Education back in September that say students should be allowed to use the restroom with accordance with their gender identity.

Executive Director of the Michigan Association of School Boards, Don Wotruba, also agrees.

“It’s really a question of are kids being protected to the point where they go into school everyday that they’re able to participate in the educational process and not feel singled out, somehow punished, made to feel different, where it detracts from their educational experience,” says Wotruba.

On a local level, in response to the announcement, Lansing Public Schools reiterated a previous statement, saying students are allowed to use bathrooms they identify with, with the goal of helping all students feel comfortable.

And for Hill, that’s just what she wanted to hear.

“That’s all they’re asking for, its not special treatment, just let them be normal,” says Hill.

 

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