The Grass Lake Community Schools Board of Education would like to acknowledge all of the parents, community members, and students who have shared their thoughts about this sensitive issue. It is the responsibility of the Grass Lake Board of Education to implement policies and procedures based on the Board’s legal obligations which are guided by the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions, Michigan and federal statutes, regulations promulgated by Michigan and federal administrative agencies, and rulings by Michigan and federal courts.
The issues that have been brought to the board of education pertaining to the privacy issues for all students, the board of education has attempted to work with all parties to develop a procedure that will meet the needs of all of the students in the District. In working with the District’s attorneys, the Grass Lake Board of Education has established the following procedure to be followed by District staff and students in order to provide all students with a safe educational environment that affords adequate privacy in public bathrooms.
1. Grass Lake Community Schools will install bathroom stalls with lockable doors around urinals, beginning with the elementary school boys’ bathrooms. This action will provide privacy for all students. Until these stalls are in place, the transgender student has agreed to use the gender neutral bathroom at the elementary school. These stalls will insure privacy while students are using the bathroom. We will make similar adjustments to other District bathrooms in the future. All of the toilets in the girls’ bathrooms already have stalls with lockable doors..
- The Grass Lake Health Committee is made up of staff, students, and community members. This Committee will conduct meetings to evaluate the issues and make recommendations to the Board of Education on guidelines to be followed in addressing the issues of bathroom privacy for all students, as well as procedures for further education of students and families on issues as they arise.
In December, 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction in Michigan, ruled in favor of allowing a transgender student to use bathroom facilities consistent with the student’s identified gender. The Sixth Circuit’s ruling, in part, stated: “Under settled law in this Circuit … sex stereotyping based on a person’s gender non-conforming behavior is impermissible discrimination.” Dodds v U.S. Department of Educ, 845 F3d 217 (CA 6, 2016). Similar rulings have been issued in other federal court decisions See, e.g., Evancho v Pine-Richland Sch Dist, Case No. 2:16-01537 (WD Pa, 2017); Whitaker v Kenosha Unified Sch Dist No. 1, 858 F3d 1034 (CA 7, 2017).The Grass Lake Community Schools will continue to follow the decision of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which allows transgender students to use the bathroom facilities of their chosen gender identity until that decision is either supported or overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States.