Tag Archives: Department

Department of Education to dismiss ALL transgender student bathroom access complaints, nationwide

The Department of Education, helmed in this new Republican era of ensuring every federal department is governed by someone who objects to the very premise of their office by the very wealthy anti-public-education Betsy DeVos, has summarily declared that they will be ignoring any and all complaints filed by transgender students over school bathrooms. As in, all of them, nationwide, without exception.

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.”

The declaration is specific to transgender students and bathrooms. As of now, any transgender students complaining about bathroom access will find their complaints summarily dismissed. And DeVos and company are taking this position despite multiple federal court rulings saying otherwise, because the Trumpites apparently just feel like doing that.

This new policy, in which an entire category of student complaints will now be summarily dismissed in order to comport with anti-LGBTQ Republican ideologies, comes on the immediate heels of incompetent whining rich person DeVos complaining that it is “hurtful” to criticize her for her department’s actions.

“It’s hurtful to me when I’m criticized for not upholding the rights of students, the civil rights of students,” DeVos told a small group of media outlets, as reported by Politico.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” she added. “I have to turn it back around and say why do I keep getting criticized for that? I mean, nothing that I’ve done would suggest otherwise.”

In conclusion, Betsy DeVos is a terrible person, is still unfit for her position and incompetent in her pronouncements, and apparently exists only as another wealthy pen-holder who will sign off on implementing the cruel ideological demands of a radicalized Republican B-team. Terribly sorry to be hurtful, Bets, but at least the federal government lets you use the Department of Education bathrooms.

Education Department says transgender student complaints about bathrooms will be rejected

The Education Department said it will not investigate complaints from transgender students who have been denied access to bathrooms that correspond with their gender. BuzzFeed News broke the story on Monday.

The department responded to BuzzFeed’s question about whether the department’s current position is that bathroom complaints from trans students are not included in Title IX. Title IX is a 1972 civil rights law that says students should not be excluded from participation in, denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in education programs receiving federal assistance.

Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the department responded, “yes, that’s what the law says” and maintains that Title IX “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”

Transgender students, their families, and advocates for the rights of transgender students have been waiting on further clarity from the department since HuffPost reported last month that the department has specifically said they don’t have to handle three cases about transgender students’ experiences with school bathrooms or sports teams. The department also said complaints involving transgender students do not fall under its jurisdiction. Last week, parents of more than 700 students across the country wrote a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos condemning the department’s policy approach toward transgender students, which so far, has been to ignore them.

“People who espouse hateful and transphobic views continue to hold positions of power in schools across the country, and are enabled now more than ever before by the poor example set by the federal government with regard to acceptance and support for all youth,” the parents wrote.

A year ago, the department rescinded 2016 guidance from the Obama administration on transgender students’ access to bathrooms. The administration’s draft letter to schools stated that “School administrators, parents and students have expressed varying views on the legal issues arising in this setting” and “struggled to understand” the 2016 guidance.

The Obama-era guidance said schools should respond promptly to harassment claims when it involved a trans student’s gender and that transgender students should be able to access bathrooms and locker rooms and belong to sports teams that match their gender identity. It also made clear that schools should be aware of a student’s gender and can’t ask students for a medical diagnosis or treatment before they act accordingly. But nearly half the states joined two lawsuits challenging protections for transgender students.

Catherine Lhamon, former head of the department’s Office for Civil Rights during the Obama administration, tweeted on Monday that the federal government is “further turning its back” on transgender students.

Lhamon told BuzzFeed News that the department’s response is inconsistent with the courts’ interpretation of Title IX. In May, a federal court ruled that the anti-discrimination law covered trans Americans. In the case of Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District, the federal appeals court ruled that a trans boy could use the boys’ bathroom under Title IX protections.

Harper Jean Tobin, policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, released a statement to ThinkProgress over email accusing the department of “ignoring the law —including rulings from two federal appeals courts—in favor of promoting discrimination against children.”

Tobin added:

Trans students have stated that they avoid using the restroom all day, or avoid eating and drinking so that they will not have to. The Department appears to be saying it will turn its backs on these students even though courts have specifically said they are protected, forcing them to take the longer and far more costly route of suing in federal court. The Department also leaves students without any reason to have faith that it will help if they are outed and humiliated by school staff misgendering them every day, [or] suspended for following the dress code in a way that matches their gender identity.

DeVos whines about 'hurtful' criticism on same day Education Department locks out protesters

A group of union leaders, teachers, parents and students tried to deliver a report card to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos now that she’s been on the job for a year … but they were locked out. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia were at the head of a group of about 100 protesters bearing 80,000 failing report cards from people across the country, but though they’d requested an appointment, they were literally locked out of the Department of Education for not having an appointment.

In the report cards, parents and educators leveled criticisms like “education is not and should not be treated as a business,” and “Ms. DeVos should think about the children whose lives she is making infinitely harder with her actions.” […]

“This is a remarkable moment,” Ms. Weingarten told the crowd, adding of the department: “They knew that teachers and parents and students from all over the country have actually taken their time to say what is going on in their schools. And here on Betsy DeVos’s anniversary, this is the first time that I have ever been to this building where we were not let in — where the educators, where the students, where the parents of America were locked out of the federal Department of Education.”

Eskelsen Garcia said, outside the locked doors, that “she is showing us who she is and we have always believed exactly who she is.” Perhaps DeVos’s staff were trying to protect her delicate fee-fees, as she has recently said that:

“It’s hurtful to me when I’m criticized for not upholding the rights of students, the civil rights of students,” DeVos told a small group of media outlets, as reported by Politico.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” she added. “I have to turn it back around and say why do I keep getting criticized for that? I mean, nothing that I’ve done would suggest otherwise.”