Michigan State Board of Education passes LGBTQ guidelines

Paige Berry, Staff Writer

On Sept. 14, Michigan’s State Board of Education passed a set of new guidelines for every Michigan school to follow that provides protection for LGBTQ students.

Many educators, health professionals, mental health professionals, parents and social workers worked on the guidelines to help the LGBTQ communities in Michigan’s school districts.

The guidelines were instituted after a 6-2 vote for LGBTQ students’ safety and prosperity. These guidelines are based on common sense and many schools across the state already practice many of these protocols, according to a press release issued by the board of education.

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Portage Central is a safe environment for LGBTQ students to a certain extent, but junior Parker Chambers said simply listening to the hallway chatter indicates some underlying problems.

“Portage Central is safe to a certain extent,” Chambers said. “There’s no physical altercations based upon sexuality, but there’s many anti-gay slurs.” Chambers, who does not label their sexuality or gender, said “I am who I am.”

These guidelines were put in place help the LGBTQ community academically and socially. In recent years, data shows that the attendance rate and GPAs of many LGBTQ students in Michigan have decreased.    

The Michigan board of education said it hopes these guidelines will show support for many LGBTQ students who feel they may not have the freedom to defend themselves.

Tyler Baas, an adviser for the Genders-Sexualities Alliance (GSA), said students should not have to apologize for who they are.

“In an ideal world, everyone is equal, but we do not live in an ideal world,” said Baas, an English teacher. “People draw lines and these guidelines force people to pay attention.”

Note: State legislation specifically states LGBTQ in the guidelines for protection and safety.