Some parents protest board of education's plan to protect transgender students
LANSING (WJBK) - A peaceful demonstration was held Tuesday at the Michigan Board of Education over its efforts to protect transgender students in Michigan schools.
This, as some lawmakers argue the state should stay out of the issue because it promotes a lifestyle they oppose.
Conservatives showed up inside the board of education's room and demonstrated outside sending a clear message to the state board of education.
"Stop all the alleged social engineering when it comes to how transgender students are treated in state schools," said Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Plymouth). "They are actually using the teacher to go out and promote the LGBT lifestyle. This is social engineering to the nth degree."
But the president of the state board asserts the state has a responsibility to protect transgender students from bullying. And if the state does nothing?
"They are five times more likely to attempt suicide," said John Austin (D) SBE president. "They don't go to school, and they don't learn and they get bad grades because they are not engaged. All we need to do if we can, in our schools and hopefully our homes, is acknowledging them and try to help them succeed."
But one lawmaker says the state is already regulating any problems with its anti-bullying law.
FOX 2: "Does the state have a responsibility here?"
"No," said Rep. Phil Potvin (R-Cadillac). "I do not other than above taking care of children in general."
Much of the heated debate has centered on transgender students using the bathroom.
FOX 2: "This parent wants to protect all students from what?"
"People going into bathrooms with cameras and cell phones and taking videos, claiming they are transgender, maybe they are or maybe they aren't," said Tim Schmig, Michigan Association of Christian Schools. "I really want to protect all of the students in the state of Michigan."
There are also concerns that transgender could use locker rooms.
But Michigan School Supt. Brian Whitson thinks that provision of the voluntary guidelines might be removed.
"I'm not sure that we're going to make that our final policy," said Whitson.
The board says it wants parental input on all this and will make a final decision soon.