DeVos Is Giving Congress the Silent Treatment on Questions Regarding Nondiscrimination Protections for Transgender Students

Following the Trump administration’s shameful decision last month to rescind guidance explaining the rights and protections of transgender students in schools, Democratic Senator Patty Murray from Washington and other members of the education committee sent Sec. DeVos 11 detailed questions.

The questions seek clarity regarding how the Department of Education intends to enforce civil rights laws including Title IX, the impact of revoking the guidance on students and schools, and how the decision was made. Title IX is a federal law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal funding, including all of our nation’s public elementary and secondary schools.

Secretary DeVos has not yet responded to lingering questions, including:

  • How is the learning environment for transgender students made safer by revoking the guidance?
  • Are states and localities free to choose whether to comply with federal civil rights laws?
  • Did the Education Department consult with any advocates or transgender people before revoking the guidance?

Senators gave Sec. DeVos until March 24 to respond in writing to their questions. The deadline has now come and gone, and no answers have been provided.

In withdrawing this important guidance document, the Trump administration sent a terrible message to some of the most vulnerable young people in the country. That Secretary DeVos now refuses to explain in detail how the Department of Education intends to protect the civil rights of transgender students is unacceptable.

What’s the holdup, Secretary DeVos? Are you not prepared to state clearly that trans students are protected under Title IX? Because they are. Do you not understand how this critically important civil rights law protects trans students? Because it does. Is congressional oversight something you think you are free to simply ignore? Because you aren’t.

Answers or not, the reality remains that this administration does not have the authority to undo legal protections for transgender students. Trans students are protected by the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, and school districts across the country must still comply with the law.

Sometimes DeVos says the right things even if her administration’s actions tell a different tale. “I consider protecting all students, including LGBT students, not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America,” she said in a statement rolling back the Title IX guidance for trans students. “We owe all students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment.”

But actions and answers speak louder than silence. The ACLU remains deeply committed to the fight for trans equality, and we will continue our work to safeguard the dignity and rights of trans students.

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Anonymous

It's interesting how cruel and mean-spirited some, not all, Americans that claim to be of the Christian faith have become.

Jesus embraced leppers, criminals and prostitutes - the least among us. He certainly would have embraced these children.

Today supposed followers of Jesus have absolutely no sympathy or concern for children that are outcasts, already being bullied by other children. These people punishing these innocent children are not Christians or persons of faith.

Anonymous

VP Pence is another good example. The hypocrisy is astounding.

Anonymous

De Vos is one ignorant bitch that only has her job because her family made a whole bunch of money selling anti-perspirants.

Anonymous

You bunch of cry baby liberals. Boo hoo hoo

Anonymous

Troll

Anonymous

This from the people who threw a baby fit over a Starbucks cup not being Chritmasy enough.

Anonymous

You seem to like throwing labels around. Have your seriously looked at the things you conservatives are doing? Destroying good things, that's what. Every protection for women, children, poor, or minority's are in their aim. They are destroying data about climate change, just deleting it, as if that would make it go away, letting companies that treated employees awfully eligible for gov contracts again, removing the EPA, Removing the dept of ed, allowing hunters in Alaska to hunt denned bears or shoot at them from airplanes, and that's just some of the things you conservatives are doing.

Anonymous

why do Christians have to say the least of us?

Gaye Fearn

It is shameful. And by removing these Federal protections it has left kids (and adults) open to abuse. Montana is currently trying (and will probably succeed) in passing a similar legislation forcing people to use the restroom/locker room based on the gender on their birth certificate. It's horrific and backward thinking...suicide hotlines are already reporting increases in calls from LGBTQ youth and adults. It breaks my heart. What next? A cop at the bathroom door to look down your pants and check?

Anonymous

Generally speaking, the haters and xenophobes are crying about a non-issue.

In most men's restrooms, guys don't check out each other, it just doesn't happen - so it's a non-issue. Most women's rooms have far more privacy than men have - so it's a non-issue.

Conservatives are just trying to be politically correct and scared of things or people that are different.

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