Oh, how much has changed over the last 13 months.
After historic progress for the LGBT community under the Obama Administration, it seems that our nation’s 45th President, and our Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, are determined to put America’s students and their real educational concerns on the back burner.
UGH. Here’s the scoop, from Dominic Holden of BuzzFeed News…
The Education Department has told BuzzFeed News it won’t investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity, charting new ground in the Trump administration’s year-long broadside against LGBT rights.
It’s the first time officials have asserted this position publicly as an interpretation of law. No formal announcement has been made.
For nearly a year, the Trump administration took a less clear stance, with officials saying they were studying the issue. When the Education Department and Justice Department withdrew Obama-era guidance on transgender restroom access in February 2017, Trump’s officials said in a memo and court filings that they would “consider the legal issues involved.” Then last June, the Education Department issued another memo saying it was “permissible” for its civil rights division to dismiss a trans student’s restroom case. However, in those statements, officials never cemented their intent to reject all restroom complaints issued by trans students.
For the past three weeks, BuzzFeed News called and emailed Education Department officials attempting to pinpoint the agency’s position.
Finally on Thursday, Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the agency, responded “yes, that’s what the law says” when asked again if the Education Department holds a current position that restroom complaints from transgender students are not covered by a 1972 federal civil rights law called Title IX.
Asked for further explanation on the department’s position, Hill said Friday, “Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”
This represents a complete and total about face from policies of the Obama Administration, which sought to protect the rights and safety of all students, including the Transgender community. Here’s an excerpt of a joint memo from the Departments of Justice and Education, dated May 16th, 2016…
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status. The guidance makes clear that both federal agencies treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “This guidance gives administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies. I look forward to continuing our work with the Department of Education – and with schools across the country – to create classroom environments that are safe, nurturing, and inclusive for all of our young people.”
“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “This guidance further clarifies what we’ve said repeatedly – that gender identity is protected under Title IX. Educators want to do the right thing for students, and many have reached out to us for guidance on how to follow the law. We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”
“Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment that allows them to thrive and grow. And we know that teachers and administrators care deeply about all of their students and want them to succeed in school and life,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our guidance sends a clear message to transgender students across the country: here in America, you are safe, you are protected and you belong – just as you are. We look forward to working with school officials to make the promise of equal opportunity a reality for all of our children.”
“Our federal civil rights law guarantees all students, including transgender students, the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities without sex discrimination as a core civil right,” said Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. “This guidance answers questions schools have been asking, with a goal to ensure that all students are treated equally consistent with their gender identity. We look forward to continuing to work with schools and school communities to satisfy Congress’ promise of equality for all.”
Yet more confirmation that the Trump Administration is not only out of step with America’s school system, but that they seem to only care about the needs of certain American students. Of course, given how much of our tax money is being given out the door to the 1 percent via the massive Tax Cut and Jobs Act, I guess sweeping Transgender Americans under the rug isn’t much of a surprise.
Elections have consequences folks. And in this case, they are quite shameful.
So PLEASE don’t forget to VOTE in the upcoming March 6th Primary Election, and the November 6th General Election. The only way to protect our students is to send lawmakers to Washington that care about them, which doesn’t seem to be getting done with the Republican majority. Texans have a say on decisions like this one in November, as one of the Senators that not only supported Trump, but voted to confirm Betsy Devos, Ted Cruz, is up for reelection.
The first step in reversing tragedies like this one is to LOOSE CRUZ THIS NOVEMBER.