- The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education have rescinded the guidance issued under the Obama administration that advised districts to let transgender students use the bathroom of their choice or risk violating Title IX — but U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has come out as a protector of LGBT students.
- The New York Times reports DeVos spoke out against the administration’s plans to rescind the guidance, placing herself in direct opposition to Attorney General Jeff Sessions until Trump asked her to stand down, which she did while also releasing a statement in support of LGBT students.
- In her statement, DeVos said schools have a responsibility to protect all students and give them the opportunity to thrive in a safe and trusted environment, and she committed to directing the Office for Civil Rights to investigate all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against schools’ most vulnerable students.
It came as a surprise to many that DeVos spoke out in support of LGBT students this week. Her statement basically invited students who are discriminated against in schools to file complaints with the Office for Civil Rights. The role of this office was expected to be scaled back greatly during the Trump administration, but perhaps DeVos will ensure it has the resources to continue protecting U.S. students.
Practically speaking, the actions this week by the administration will not directly impact any students immediately. Schools were not required to act on the Obama administration guidance because of pending litigation. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a transgender student bathroom rights case next month, however, and its ruling could make the Trump administration’s stand moot.