Accommodating Transgender Students

From Caitlyn Jenner to "I Am Jazz," the transgender community has recently gained national attention in the news and pop culture. Simultaneously, issues relative to accommodating transgender students and employees have grown in schools and workplaces across the country.

Transgender individuals are those who identify with the gender that does not correspond to their biological sex assigned at birth. As many school districts are coming to learn, transgender students face practical problems while attending school. This usually begins with what restroom the transgender student should use, but may also include what sports team the student is permitted to play for or what physical education class the student should participate in.

Despite the various issues that transgender students and individuals face, federal and state law, has been slow to address these dynamics and Michigan law does not provide guidance on the treatment of transgender individuals. This leaves Michigan school districts without much practical guidance on how to accommodate transgender students at school on a day-to-day basis. Luckily, various agencies, state education departments, and other organizations have drafted guidelines that school districts may utilize as guidance when considering how best to support transgender students. [Read more...]

Additional Insights...

Fifth Circuit Sets Table for Supreme Court to Address Off-Campus, Online Student Speech

In a decision which could pave the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the thorny issue of off-campus, online student speech, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, recently decided that a Mississippi district did not violate a student’s First Amendment free speech rights when school officials disciplined the student for a video he created and posted online off-campus that contained threatening language directed at two teachers/coaches. [Read more...]

New Michigan Rule Regarding Mandatory Vaccination of School Children

We have recently reported on current developments in the mandatory vaccination debate, and now Michigan has entered this controversial arena. The Michigan Department of Community Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, Communicable and Related Diseases has enacted a new Administrative Rule requiring parent attendance at an educational class before they can sign a waiver exempting their child from mandatory vaccinations due to a philosophical or religious reason. [Read more...]