Senate panel OKs Zorn bill to help students in military families

LANSING, Mich. — 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 was approved Tuesday by the Senate Local Government Committee.

“When military service men or women are assigned a new duty station, their children often face significant challenges with learning gaps and disruptions as they relocate to new schools and communities,” said Zorn. R-Onsted. “These challenges can stem from a wide variety of issues, like differences in graduation requirements, problems with course placements, and difficulties with children connecting socially or emotionally at a new school.

“My bill would create a Purple Star program in our state to help fill those learning gaps and keep these children on track toward graduation.”

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 state Department of Education (MDE) to establish the Purple Star Program in Michigan by 2023.

Under the bill, a school could become a Purple Star Designated School 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 full Senate for consideration.


Sen. Dale Zorn