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Kenneth L. Marcus Confirmed to Lead OCR

Media Contact:
Joanna Cifredo
Media Relations Manager

GLSEN Statement on the Confirmation of Kenneth Marcus as Assistant Secretary for
Civil Rights in the Department of Education

WASHINGTON, DC (June 07, 2018) -- Today, the U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Kenneth L. Marcus as Assistant Secretary to the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education. In this role, Marcus will be responsible for ensuring the civil rights of all students are protected, enforcing existing federal civil rights laws, and leading the Department of Education’s efforts to providing an equal opportunity to an education. In response, GLSEN released the following statement:

“For over 50 years, it’s been the mission of the Office for Civil Rights, which Marcus will now lead, to “ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights." To achieve the agencies mission, it requires enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in federally funded programs, which extends to discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The work of the Office for Civil Rights is instrumental in ensuring that students’ rights are protected and that every student has a chance to thrive in their school. As Marcus begins his work in this position, we hope that he will recognize and carry out his responsibility to all students, including his responsibility to investigate systemic practices of discrimination when addressing complaints brought forward by LGBTQ students. Despite repealing joint guidance by the Department of Education and Department of Justice in early 2017 designed to assist schools in supporting transgender students, Marcus and the Department of Education still have a responsibility to protect the civil rights of transgender students. He will also be responsible for collecting data about the experiences of marginalized students and creating policy guidance to ensure educational equity for vulnerable students.

Considering the tumultuous and unfriendly agenda of the Trump administration toward LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, and students of color, marginalized youth need the person in this office to defend their rights and advocate for safe schools. We hope we can depend on Marcus to rise to the occasion and we welcome any opportunity to be involved in setting his OCR agenda. We look forward to working with him in this role, especially as federal courts continue to rule that civil rights law protects students on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”



GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of 39 community-led chapters in 26 states brings GLSEN’s expertise to local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for inclusive schools at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research, and educator training programs, please visit