DeVos defends roll back on transgender student protections

U.S. Education Sec. Betsy DeVos
(Photo from U.S. Department of Education)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended rolling back the department’s protections for transgender students on Wednesday.

The Hill reported that DeVos defended the move during testimony with the U.S. House Education Committee.

From The Hill:

During a hearing in front of the House Education Committee, civil rights subcommittee Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) asked the secretary if she knew that harassment and discrimination can lead to poor academic performance and depression for transgender students when she rescinded Obama-era regulations that extended Title IX rights to the students and allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

DeVos sidestepped the question at first, responding: “[The U.S. Office for Civil Rights] OCR is committed to ensuring all students have equal access to education free from discrimination—“

Bonamici then cut her off, repeating the question.

“Sorry, I would really like answer,” the congresswoman said. “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?”

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

DeVos told Bonamici she was aware of data from the American Association of Pediatrics about the high rates of attempted suicide with transgender youth, according to The Hill.