News@Noon: Gender identity issues spark controversy

The Detroit News

Today is Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Here's what's happening in and around Metro Detroit.

As the State Board of Education considers whether to create formal policies requiring public schools to accommodate students on gender-identity matters such as names, preferred pronouns and bathroom access for transgender students, a Detroit News survey of several large school districts finds that school leaders are doing their part to make students feel respected, and to accommodate those with non-traditional needs.

Cecil Connelly, with classmate Jacob Reyes-Winowiecki, said he’s dismayed by adults “freaking out” over transgender bathroom access, now a national issue.

Will bickering hinder the future of Detroit Public Schools?

Michigan's largest public school district, serving some 47,000 students, is in dire straits financially. Twice this year, the Michigan Legislature has had to offer financial relief so DPS could continue making its payroll. And anywhere from a half billion to $715 million will be needed from the state to bail the district out, experts say.

Question of the day: Should Detroit Public Schools be bailed out? Absent financial help, what assistance should the state provide to ensure the district's survival and ability to educate young students?

When News columnist Daniel Howes looks at the bailout debate, he sees state leaders less interested in helping than with scoring points against the Detroit Federation of Teachers and interested in punishing teachers who use organized sick days in lieu of a formal — and illegal — strike.

Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, offered a different view on The News' op-ed page. 

Tough times to be a Tiger

From 2011 to 2014, the Detroit Tigers may have never won a World Series, but they accomplished an unprecedented feat for the franchise, winning four straight American League Central Division titles.

2014 was the team's first year under Manager Brad Ausmus, and the final year of the streak. Last year, the Tigers failed to win a title, dropping to last place in the division. As of early May, the Tigers are on a seven-game losing streak. Ausmus admits he is in the "crosshairs" for anyone looking for a scapegoat. Players have tried to shift the blame to themselves. But after the latest loss, a walk-off home run surrendered to Washington Nationals pinch-hitter Clint Robinson, who is batting below .200 on the season, answers were hard to find.

“Everyone is out here trying," Tigers slugger J.D. Martinez said after the latest loss. "Everyone comes in here early, working hard, doing everything possible to try and perform and win a game and end this thing. But right now, the ball’s just not rolling our way.”

It's easy to support a winning team. With the losses mounting and the team seemingly out of contention before even mid-season, the question is: Who's your Tiger?

A local story goes national

Last Thursday, in a story that must be read to be believed, News reporter Kim Kozlowski introduced Metro Detroit to Dr. Kevin Morton Jr., 31, whose path to a doctor's white coat started when he was wearing a fast-food apron, and shot after a late-night shift.

The life-saving work of surgeon Dharti Sheth-Zelmanski, right, and other doctors inspired Kevin Morton, left, to become a doctor and help others.

After he recovered from his injuries, Morton made a point of connecting with Dr. Dharti Sheth-Zelmanski, the trauma doctor whose work in the emergency room at St. John's Hospital saved Morton's life that night. That connection, and the ability of doctors to save lives with their skills, pushed Morton to become a doctor himself.

Tonight, on NBC Nightly News, reporter Kevin Tibbles will introduce Morton to the rest of America. Will you be watching at 6:30 tonight?