State Senator Patrick Colbeck’s Newsletter

Share Your Input on State Board of Education Proposed LGBTQ Plans

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Dear Friend,

The Michigan State Board of Education has drafted proposed LGBTQ Policy Guidelines intended for our local schools that I believe merits your review. These recommendations, which were released in a draft document on February 23rd, are publically available on the MDE website. If you are able to review this document, please share your feedback with my office and also share it directly with the Michigan Department of Education. As your Senator, I will be sure to ensure that your views are represented in their deliberations going forward.

The guidance provided by the Michigan Board of Education addresses the following topics: 

1. Names and Pronouns 
2. Student Records 
3. Privacy and Confidentiality Regarding Disclosures 
4. Restrooms 
5. Locker Rooms or Changing Facilities 
6. Physical Education Classes and Intramural Sports 
7. Interscholastic Sports 
8. Dress Code 
9. Gender-Based Activities or Practices 

Here are a few key excerpts:

“Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (GNC) students have the right to decide when, with whom, and to what extent to share private information. When contacting the parent/guardian of a transgender or GNC student, school staff should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s assigned sex at birth, unless the student or parent/guardian has specified otherwise.”
“Students should be allowed to use the restroom in accordance with their gender identity. Alternative and non-stigmatizing options, such as an all-gender or single-user restroom (e.g., staff bathroom or nurse’s office), should be made available to students who request them, but not presented as the only option.”
“School libraries should include a selection of high-interest LGBTQ books and media. Computer-filtering software should not inhibit age-appropriate access to medical and social information. Schools are encouraged to review the computer-filtering protocol to ensure that students and other school community members can access information related to LGBTQ youth, local and national resources, and LGBTQ health information.”
“Students should be allowed to participate in physical education classes and intramural sports in accordance with their gender identity. Students should be allowed to participate in interscholastic sports in accordance with their gender identity.”

The State Board of Education believes these policies would promote a “safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for all students,” but I believe the opposite is true. I have serious concerns that these policy guidelines will result in a learning environment for our students that is LESS safe and LESS secure. Furthermore, I believe that they will distract teachers from their core mission of teaching and helping children become proficient in core areas such as reading, science, math, and history. My full statement on this subject as given on the Senate Floor on March 22 can be viewed at

Please feel free to email us your views on these guidelines and submit a written comment directly to the Department of Education. The MI Department of Education will accept comments on its website through May 11, 2016.

Remarks can also be mailed to:

Kim Kovalchick, Supervisor
Michigan Department of Education
Coordinated School Health & Safety Programs Unit
P.O. Box 30008
Lansing, MI 48909

The State Board of Education is expected to vote on the guidelines at either its May 10 or June 14 meetings in Lansing. For meeting times and location, contact the State Board of Education at (517) 373-3902.

Members of the public are encouraged to testify during the public comment portions of these meetings. More information on the public participation process can be found in this State Board of Education document.

Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.


Patrick Colbeck
State Senator
7th District


Michigan’s 7th Senate District

The 7th Senate District

The 7th Senate District includes Canton Township, Livonia city, Northville city, Northville Township, Plymouth city, Plymouth Township, and Wayne city.

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Senator Patrick Colbeck
1020 Farnum Bldg.   P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Phone: (517) 373-7350

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