Plymouth-Canton Schools Approve Inclusive Bathroom-Usage Policy

Jason A. Michael

The board of Plymouth-Canton Schools unanimously approved a new policy Tuesday allowing students to use bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity. While there was public comment both for and against the policy, it passed by the board by a unanimous vote of 6-0.

"There is so much good about this decision and I really applaud them," said Roz Keith, executive director of Stands With Trans. "We certainly appreciate them stepping up."

Plymouth-Canton Schools Board President Patti McCoin said the policy was designed to provide safety and "a sense of belonging to our students, especially for those who find themselves marginalized."

McCoin also assured those at the meeting that the new policy would not allow boys and girls to start using each other's bathrooms at will.

"Identifying as a transgender student with the district is a process," she said. "This policy will not allow males to claim they are females on a day-to-day basis in order to gain entrance into women's facilities."

That quote did not sit well with Keith when it was relayed back to her.

"The reality is, I know that's what parents are concerned about, but it's unfounded," Keith said. "And I just think it was unfortunate that she had to put that in there. It's a non-starter."

Keith also said the policy was not perfect.

"They haven't addressed, as far as I can see, non-binary students. So that still needs to be managed."

A plus, though, is that the policy extends to allow boys and girls to join school sports teams according to their gender identity.

"The fact that they're extending it to sports for anyone who identifies as male, female or whichever team you need on to play on … that's the way every school district should be.

"Overall, it's fantastic," Keith continued. "Obviously, it's nothing but good news, and I hope that every school district in Michigan that doesn't already have such a policy in place will follow suit."

Michelle Fox-Phillips, executive director of Gender-identity Network Alliance, was also pleased with the new policy.

"I think it's awesome," she said. "That's one more step for transgender and gender non-conforming equality."