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Michigan Legislature Passes Resolution Against LGBTQ Training Session

November 18th, 2022

A teacher in Kansas was recently suspended after she declined to call a student by their preferred first name and gender pronouns.
The Michigan state senate voted to condemn an LGBTQ training session for Michigan educators that it claimed was threatening parental rights.

A dispute regarding an LGBTQ training session in which Michigan teachers were taught how to help LGBTQ students has led to requests that Michigan’s superintendent resign. Training from Michigan’s Department of Education instructed teachers how to discuss a student’s suicidal thoughts with parents without potentially outing the student, and having the student guide that process. Republicans in the state legislature and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon jumped on that lesson as evidence of democrats wanting to keep parents in the dark.

How the Issue with the LGBTQ Training Session Arose

This issue came into focus after a conservative activist tweeted a short clip from a nine-hour professional development series offered by Michigan’s Department of Education, which included an LGBTQ training session. A trainer in the clip suggests that teachers chat with parents about students sharing suicidal thoughts without revealing that either sexual orientation or gender identity is causing distress.

Despite the confusion introduced by the clip, the video’s guidance is consistent with Michigan’s education policy which has been in place since 2016, which is when Michigan’s school board adopted guidance for schools involving LGBTQ+ matters. Michigan’s policy states that the unique requirements and concerns of each student should be tackled on a case-by-case basis. The approach focuses on students and includes ongoing engagement of students, relevant school workers, and parents, but excludes situations where educators know that parental knowledge could endanger a student’s welfare and/or safety.

Commentary About the Video Clip

The conservative activist who shared the clip of the LGBTQ training session commented that schools are radicalizing children. The activist commented that parents must be on guard about these things.

Michigan’s Department of Education has commented that claims about radicalization are false and that the LGBTQ training session helps Michigan schools create more inclusive settings for students, particularly those children who are at risk of being bullied and attempting suicide. The state’s superintendent has even commented that the training is critical for teachers to better understand at-risk students and to help these students feel safe and secure at school.

Michigan’s Republican candidate for Governor, Tudor Dixon, used the video to request that Michigan’s superintendent resign. Dixon commented that any person who requests that staff hide details from parents about their struggling child is not fit to serve in the state’s education system. 

Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has also raised concerns about the clip and associated training. A chief operating officer for Michigan subsequently sent the superintendent a letter stating that the video falls outside the scope of the department’s duties. The letter requests that the superintendent make sure that training complies with all applicable regulations.

If the election results are any indication of the current environment in Michigan, Democratic Governor Whitmer was reelected with 54.5% of the vote, meaning Tudor Dixon’s messaging did not win over voters in the Great Lake State. Moreover, democrats now have full control of the state government for the first time in 40 years.

The Focus of the Universal Life Church’s Blog

The 2010s saw some substantial advancements in the field of LGBTQ+ rights. Due to the appointment of several conservative Justices to the Supreme Court during former President Trump’s term, however, SCOTUS is more inclined to issue decisions that restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. Each week, the Universal Life Church’s blog focuses on documenting the most noteworthy cases involving LGBTQ+ rights. Our blog strives to do so in a way that examines both sides of each dispute and does so in a way that can be readily understood by readers.

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