Zorn’s bill to help students in military families approved by Senate

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to have Michigan join several other states, including Ohio, in creating a Purple Star program to support students of military families when they move to a new school.

“Children in military families can often face huge learning challenges and disruptions as they relocate to new schools and communities when their service mom or dad are assigned a new duty station,” said Zorn. R-Onsted. “The challenges military kids face can result from simple issues like graduation requirement differences and problems with course placements and complex issues like trouble connecting socially or emotionally at a new school.

“This bill would create a Purple Star program in Michigan in an effort to help meet these challenges and keep military children on track toward completing their education.”

According to the Military State Policy Source, the average military-connected child will experience six to nine different schools during their K-12 education.

Senate Bill 530 would require the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to establish the Purple Star Program in the state by 2023.

Under the bill, a school could receive a Purple Star designation if they:

  • Apply to MDE for the designation;
  • Assign a staff member to be a military liaison;
  • Provide additional information on the district website;
  • Maintain a transition program for students; and
  • Require professional development opportunities for staff.

A school would also need to offer a resolution supporting military families or establish a partnership with a local military site.

Zorn said 21 other states have already created a Purple Star program and Michigan is one of 18 others that are in the legislative process of creating one.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.