Grass Lake citizens who support the right to restroom privacy for ALL students.
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UPDATE: We appreciate all supporters of our cause, however, at this time we ask that only residents of Jackson County, MI sign this petition. We want to show the Grass Lake Board of Education and all of the Jackson Public School system that here, on a local level, we are concerned and we will stand for the rights of our children. Their bodily privacy and freedom of speech is being impeded on. Thank you for your support."
Many adults may not care who is in the stall next to them when they use a public restroom. However, when it comes to children in the public school setting, when no adults are present to monitor mixing of the sexes, we need a clear path forward. We are a kind, caring community. As such, here are the issues we need to work through together.
1) Parents were not notified by the school of the change of the rule regarding mixing of the sexes in the restrooms.
Even library inventory day warrants parental notification, but not this? One, of many, examples of why it is imperative that school administrators communicate openly with parents is parents of children who have been molested. They were granted zero consideration in preventing further traumatization of their child when someone of the opposite sex appears next to them in the bathroom.
This seems incredibly short sighted and indicative of the culture of mistrust that has sprung up between our public schools and parents.
In their rush to appear politically correct, did our schools consider the impact of mixing sexes in the bathroom on ALL children? What about the impact on children who are already self conscious using the bathroom at school? How can we consider the impact on one child and have zero consideration for the impact on many?
2) We are being told that transgender children MUST be allowed in the bathroom they identify with because suicide is a risk if they aren't fully supported by the entire community. But this is not true. Even in a supportive setting, the risk of suicide stays the same or goes up.
3) This rule applies to bathrooms throughout the school district, not just elementary aged students. These bathrooms will be used by adults frequently - parents who volunteer, grandparents attending concerts and play performances, people from outside our community who attend football games. As a society, are we really comfortable knowing that some 50 year old man from a neighboring school district could be using the urinal at a football game and a 6 year old could walk in and straddle the urinal next to him- displaying female genitalia? Are we, as a community, okay with our 18 year old high school girls changing in the locker room with a teammate who identifies as female but still has the genitalia of a male? If it were you, would a curtain or a visibly permeable wall grant a sense of privacy and security?
4) Our boys were told they had to allow a child they have grown up knowing as, and who has all the physical characteristics of, a girl in the bathroom with them. Which means if they were using the urinal, they were exposing themselves to a girl. The boys repeatedly expressed that they were not comfortable with this. Understandably. What the school is demanding they do is the very definition of indecent exposure. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(kglcjk4a5n31wmux0tcpng24))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-750-335A
We grant the right of bodily privacy even to the most hardened of criminals. Opposite sex guards are not to observe when prisoners are in a state of undress. Dignity is a basic human entitlement. ALL children should be allowed to preserve their dignity at school. http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/819/478/1965577/
5) When parents finally discovered from their children what was happening in the bathroom and complained to teachers, principal, superintendent, and school board members they were told that legally, their hands were tied. Again, this is blatantly untrue. See Smith v. City of Salem, 369 F.3d 912, 921-22 (6th Cir. 2004), amended and superseded, 378 F.3d 566. In sum, no decision of the Sixth Circuit suggests that separating restrooms and locker rooms by sex constitutes unlawful discrimination.
6)The parents of one particular child have refused the offer that their transgender child could use the unisex bathroom. There are several transgender kids at our high school - all use the unisex facilities.
The boys in the Elementary school were told by teachers they had to allow this or else they themselves would have to use the unisex bathroom. If the child in question feels this is causing them to feel segregated, how would the reverse not also hold true for a young boy who has been using a boys bathroom his entire life? It might feel like he was being punished for not following the agenda.
Again, our school has every right to stand firm and make it clear that there will be no mixing of sexes in the bathrooms. Even the ACLU knows this is a losing battle and has refused to litigate a nearly identical case in Jenison, Michigan
We ask for equality for ALL students - that one child's rights should never be allowed to trample over another's. Grass Lake Board of Education, we ask you to STAND FIRM in your original offer of unisex bathrooms to transgender students.
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