CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – You might think this was a controversial decision by Plymouth-Canton Community Schools district leaders.
There were comments coming from both sides of the issue, but the overwhelming majority did support the transgender policy change in the district. District leaders said the change had been in the works for about a year.
“We passed this policy to provide a more safe, welcoming environment for all of our students,” said Patti McCoin, Plymouth-Canton School Board president.
McCoin was playing a bit of defense Tuesday night during a virtual meeting as she explained the new transgender policy had been under consideration for quite some time.
“This policy was designed to provide safety and a sense of belonging to our students, especially those who are often marginalized, bullied and assaulted at higher rates than general ed students,” she said.
What the change means
The change allows transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that they identify with. It means those born male could use female facilities, and vice versa.
The same now applies to sports, too.
Comments from parents
During the virtual meeting, board members read written comments from parents, most of them supporting the policy:
“It’s important that these kids know that they are seen and that their lives have value. Research shows that transgender adolescents have a much higher rate of suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts than cis gender teens,” read one comment.
“We need to prepare our youth and students for a more inclusive work environment where diversity and inclusion are embedded in the work culture,” read another.
However, not all comments were in support:
“The transgender is guiding children down a path of destruction and darkness. You are enforcing confusion and deception in young impressionable minds. This policy is evil,” one comment read.
There was some early pushback to the policy with some arguing it could allow sexual predators into female rooms. The board president said no, there is a lengthy process to officially identify as trans in the schools.
“This policy will not allow males to claim they are female on a day-to-day basis in order to gain entrance into women’s facilities,” she said.
The board president also pointed to communities such as Ann Arbor where they have a similar transgender policy and have not had any issues.