Ivey Ramos Gruber 0

Williamston Community Schools Board of Education

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To Williamston Community Schools Board of Education:

Concerned citizens across the community continue to stand up in opposition to proposed Williamston Community Schools (WCS) Policy 8011, Transgender/Non-conforming students.

Proponents of your policy claim this is religious backlash – it is not. They say we want to discriminate against LGBTQ - that is not true. Yes, Great Lakes Justice Center is a faith-based legal firm; yes, we held it at St. Mary’s and community members are grateful they could do so on short-notice prior to your initial rush to vote. Attendees spanned political party lines and religious beliefs. The opposition is substantial and growing daily as we educate parents and taxpayers of the policy.

On September 29th, more than 250 hundred people attended an informational meeting hosted by Great Lakes Justice Center. This meeting was the first opportunity for our community to openly discuss the matter, express concerns, and ask questions of experts in constitutional law and parental rights. Many more watched the live stream recording. Opponents realize the rights this policy infringes upon. We continue to make members of our community aware and spread the truth about your proposed policy.

Opponents assert:

  1. This contentious policy lacked transparency, therefore, limiting knowledge of its existence and was not easily attainable – verifiable by staggering numbers of parents, taxpayers, and school employees.
  2. The proposed policy interferes with the fundamental right of a parent to raise and educate their child. MCL 380.10. Public schools are required to cooperate with parents, not undermine them, and refuse to notify or include a parent on personal issues involving their child. This is a clear overreach of a limited authority body as it compels students to give up privacy and parents surrender parental rights.
  3. Great Lakes Justice Center sent WCS Board of Education a fact sheet explaining the issues with the policy.
  4. WCS Board of Education failed to work within the community as both United States and Michigan Departments of Education have publicly stated. Existing policies required by all schools to include anti-bullying and privacy apply to all students, therefore, WCS must have difficulty enforcing existing policies. It remains unclear what problem the Williamston Board of Education intended to fix with this policy.
  5. WCS Board of Education failed to consider the impact of visiting school sports teams that oppose the policy.
  6. WCS Board of Education failed to consider the impact to the community who currently access the high school gym and pool.
  7. WCS Board of Education failed to consider the opportunity for criminal charges (indecent exposure).

8. WCS Board of Education failed to consider the financial and economic impacts the policy may have on taxpayers and the community at large. Parents in opposition to Policy 8011 have appealed to taxpayers who believe this to be an egregious decision and one that will result in additional financial stress to district and taxpayers.

Additionally, many community members were unaware Michigan Department of Treasury identified WCS as potentially fiscally stressed and alarmed that WCS Board of Education would still consider passing any policy that interferes with longstanding parental rights. We continue to increase awareness that:

  1. This designation indicates either an operating deficit or that the school district may be unable to meet its financial obligations while also satisfying the school district’s obligations or abilities to provide public educational services in a manner that complies with state laws or rules.
  2. WCS Moody’s Rating was downgraded to a Ba1 which “reflects the district’s chronically weak financial position that necessitates high levels of cash flow borrowing. The district will continue to rebuild their fund balance and look to improve their rating over the next few years."

Elected officials are accountable to those they represent. Trust that many concerned citizens (growing by the day) stand ready to protect their parental rights and the rights of ALL kids - not just a select few as this policy is written.

WCS Board of Education alone created this mess and the WCS Board of Education alone can prevent any further action from us. The financial state of the district, board’s actions, and lack of transparency create considerable doubt as to whether board members are fit to continue serving constituents.

If the board persists with this and several other un-vetted, controversial proposed measures:

  1. Parents will consider all options to include leaving the district and legal remedies. Neighboring school districts have the capacity and are eager to accept Williamston area children.
  2. Taxpayers will consider all options to include pressuring local government officials to prevent taxpayer burden arising from litigation and seek recall of eligible board members.

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