Growing calls for Lakeshore teacher's firing after transgender comments

NOW: Growing calls for Lakeshore teacher’s firing after transgender comments

STEVENSVILLE, Mich. -- There are growing calls for a Lakeshore High School teacher to be fired after questionable comments regarding transgender students in the district.

Art teacher Holly Davis’s comments surfaced just a few days ago and have already been met with a statement from the district denouncing her and a petition with over 1,000 signatures demanding she be fired.

After the Lakeshore school board decided to turn two single-stall, staff bathrooms at their high school into gender neutral units, Davis took to Facebook to express her disapproval.

Writing, “Teachers no longer have a staff bathroom because of transgender students,” along with a photo that states “A 17-year-old boy can now share a restroom with your 15-year-old daughter in her ‘safe space.’”

Lakeshore released a statement saying they “object wholeheartedly with the content” of Davis’s post, something local LGBTQ+ activism group OutCenter commended, as they have been working with the district for years on inclusion. 

“Lakeshore High School stands head and shoulders above the rest,” said MaryJo Schnell, Executive Director of OutCenter of Southwest Michigan. “When they were first starting an LGBTQ+ club a couple years ago, I was asked to come and talk to students about what these clubs can do for their schools and then returned in early 2020 to have another conversation, and two or three years ago the principal brought us in for a three-hour LGBTQ+ Safe Schools workshop for all staff.”

One student even said she’s been surprised at how united her classmates are in rejecting Davis’s opinion.

“When I first saw the post I was like ‘Oh my god, how are people at school going to react?’ but it’s been very heartwarming to see for the most part the student body say this is wrong, she needs to be removed,” said Madeline Kyncl, a junior at Lakeshore High School.

Kyncl added that while Davis is not at work right now, it will be very telling if the district ultimately keeps her on the staff.

“This behavior shouldn’t be tolerated because it sets a bad precedent for our district, by the school allowing these ideas to fester it’s creating an unsafe environment,” she said.

ABC57 did attempt to contact Superintendent Phil Freeman to confirm if Davis is on leave but has not heard back.

The full statement from Superintendent Freeman and Board President Dr. Jason Beckrow from March 12:

This morning, the District was made aware of a social media post by one of our staff members that questioned the District’s decision to repurpose two single stall staff bathrooms at Lakeshore High School to gender neutral, fully accessible units. The post questions this decision and inappropriately singles out transgender students as the reason. First and foremost, let us say, YES! This decision was made to support our transgender students - along with every other student, staff and visitor in our schools. It demonstrates our commitment to accessibility and support for everyone.

As a District, we object wholeheartedly with the content of the staff member’s post. The insensitive remarks expressed by the staff member in this post do not reflect the values of Lakeshore Public Schools and are not acceptable in any manner or form. We assure you that the action taken in this matter will be swift and appropriate.

We are saddened that the work that we have done hand-in-hand with our LGBTQ students and their families to create an accepting and supportive environment are now undermined and damaged so severely by a single voice. We recognize that transgender and gender nonconforming students are often marginalized and face unfortunate obstacles within our school walls and in the community at large. The District is committed to mending the wounds created through this insensitive and hurtful post and will work with our students and their families to assure that a mantra of acceptance and support continues to be at the foundation of our work.

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