Superintendent: Lakeview Is Ahead of the Curve on Equity Issues
The state Board of Education in Michigan, in September 2016, issued recommended guidance and language associated with protections for LGBT students. Superintendent at the Lakeview Schools in Battle Creek, Dave Peterson, tells WBCK his district was working long before that on equity issues.
Peterson said that came out of necessity. The district worked with a family of a transgender student to help address concerns and other equity issues ahead of that recommended state guideline. Earlier this year, Lakeview Schools indicated their policy would be to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.
A former Lakeview parent, Bob Wolf, expressed concern to the district that parents were not involved in the development of LGBT policies. Wolf held an information session recently in order to provide information about the guidelines and Lakeview's approach to parents and others who may not have been aware.
Peterson tells WBCK his district handles each transgender student's concerns individually.
Wolf expressed concerns about safety for the student body when accommodations for transgender students are made in school, suggesting it may create safety issues for the balance of students. Peterson said it is usually the transgender student who is often the subject of bullying.
Following the information session Wolf conducted on December 3, 2016 in Battle Creek, which was attended by some interested in the topic as well as LGBT advocates, he told the Battle Creek Enquirer he had to do more research and better understand the issue.
In a written statement submitted to WBCK, Wolf countered the contention that transgender students are often the subject of bullying - creating more of a potential safety issue for them, than for the balance of students.
"Taxpayers have spent millions of dollars and educators have attended countless hours of training in an effort to identify and put an end to bullying," Wolf wrote. "...If it is still occurring someone isn't doing their job. I doubt that new guidelines will be the silver bullet," he said.
Click the player below to hear Peterson's comments.