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Betsy DeVos admits she knew her policies would harm transgender kids

Nick Duffy April 11, 2019
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (Zach Gibson/Getty)

US President Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy Devos has admitted she was “aware” her decision to roll back anti-discrimination protections for trans children could cause harm.

DeVos was pressed during a session of the House Education Committee on Wednesday (April 11) over her 2017 decision to revoke Obama-era guidance that extended discrimination protections to transgender people in education.

Betsy DeVos ‘aware’ of harmful impact of decision to scrap trans protections

The Trump official was pressed over the decision by Democrat Suzanne Bonamici, who asked if she was aware that revoking the protections can lead to poor academic performance and depression for transgender students.

DeVos initially attempted to sidestep the question, responding: ““[The U.S. Office for Civil Rights] is committed to ensuring all students have equal access to education free from discrimination…“

However, Bonamici pressed: “Sorry, I would really like [an] answer… students and families need to know this.”

“Did you know, when you rolled back the guidance, that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression for transgender students?

“Did you know that when you rolled back the guidance?”

DeVos admitted: “I do know that. But I will say again that OCR is committed to ensuring all students have access to their education free from discrimination.”

When Bonamici asked if DeVos was aware of a recent study showing “alarming levels of suicide” among transgender students, she responded: “I’m aware of that data.”

Discrimination complaints from transgender students are no longer investigated by the Office for Civil Rights, following directives from DeVos.

‘Utterly cruel’ decision slammed by LGBT+ groups

DeVos’s admission that she is aware of the harm her decision caused has led to condemnation from LGBT+ groups.

In a tweet, GLAAD said: “She knowingly made the lives of transgender students more difficult. Utterly cruel.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos listens to U.S. President Donald Trump talk to reporters during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room at the White House February 12, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos listens to U.S. President Donald Trump talk to reporters during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room at the White House February 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

In March, DeVos confirmed that the civil rights office will limit any action against discrimination to a literal reading of discrimination law.

The law states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be subjected to discrimination under any education program.”

She said that the area had not been “clarified” in the law, and added: “This department is not going to make law, we are going to enforce laws that we are given to do.”

More: betsy devos, Donald Trump, LGBT, Trans, Transgender, Trump, US

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