LANSING, Mich. — In a speech in front of the Michigan Department of Education building in Lansing Tuesday, Republican candidate for governor Tudor Dixon asked for the state's superintendent to resign.
"As Governor, I want to be responsible for the outcomes and held accountable for the results. Today, I am here first and foremost calling for the resignation of State Superintendent Michael Rice," Dixon said before a crowd of parents.
The request for his resignation comes as Dixon says that Michigan schools "have lost their way."
Dixon points to what she says are radical policies being pushed on parents and students by activists.
"We have a school district like Muskegon bragging about how their new middle schools won't have any boys or girls bathrooms, they'll all be gender neutral. Imagine at such a critical age. Maybe you have a stomachache and you go to the bathroom, and your school crush walks in right after you, can we not have a little privacy for our children at such a critical age," Dixon questioned.
She would go on to talk about transgender students participating in sports that don't align with their birth gender.
13 ON YOUR SIDE reached out to Matthew Cortez, superintendent of Muskegon Public Schools, about her comments. Here's what he said:
As a community school district, we endeavor to represent all of our students and families. We listen to our community's feedback. While there are some that disagree with our decisions, there are others that support our decisions. We are in a time of extreme politics and our public schools have no place in them. We do not educate Republicans or Democrats, we educate every child that comes to our doorstep.
After Dixon's speech, she took questions where she showed interest in moving forward with the idea to put a constitutional change on a future ballot that would make the State's Superintendent directly report to the governor.
She also spoke about looking at the possibility of banning "pornographic books" from schools, defining those books as showing "two naked people and they are acting out a sexual act."
When asked to give reasons why she believes Rice should resign, Dixon replied by saying, "He came out and he said that he is going to leave these videos telling teachers to hide information from parents. If he does not think parents deserve to know what is happening with their child in our public schools where we are funding taxpayer-funded schools are not important enough to know what is happening to their own child, then he does not deserve a place at the table."
The Michigan Department of Education says professional development for educators on how to provide safe, supportive and inclusive school climates where all students can thrive has long been offered by MDE and is not secret.
"Recent allegations that MDE has been holding secret professional development to 'teach school employees how to facilitate the sexual transition of children under their care, while keeping the process a secret from parents,' are patently false and deliberately divisive. Contrary to these harmful allegations, school staff do not facilitate the sexual transition of children, the Michigan Department of Education said last week.
“Our local educators and support staff care deeply about their students and seek to better understand how to reach students and help them feel accepted, safe, and cared for,” State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said. “Children deserve safe and inclusive environments to minimize their fears and anxieties and to focus on schoolwork, grow academically, and achieve success.”
“Gay and trans kids exist, and they deserve our full support, just like all other kids do."
Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organizations, has endorsed Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her reelection campaign.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8
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