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Betsy DeVos' Confirmation Hearing

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Curtis Lahaie
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Curtis.Lahaie@glsen.org
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GLSEN Statement on Betsy DeVos’ Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Education

NEW YORK (January 17, 2017) – GLSEN’s Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard, released the following statement in response to the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education. DeVos is a prominent school-choice and anti-public education advocate.

“Today’s confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos was not nearly long enough for the thorough discussion our children’s education requires. Short as it was, it raised a lot of additional deeply troubling issues of grave concern to all parents. While we are relieved to hear DeVos rejecting the dangerous and thoroughly discredited practice of conversion therapy her family has previously supported, it was chilling to hear DeVos dodge questions about whether she would keep essential protections for transgender students, and basically refer all other civil rights protections for students with disabilities, students of color, and religious minority students “back to the states.”

“We’ve seen where that leads, and we know that all students require more protection if we are to be a country that provides meaningful opportunity to all children. There are too many questions still to be answered. Children’s lives depend on it; the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth depend on it. It is shameful to shut this hearing down before American parents have a chance to hear and understand what Betsy DeVos would do as our Secretary of Education.

“If this is all the hearing we’re going to get, then we must oppose. Conversion therapy is not the only issue of concern for LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth come from many communities and have many identities – identities that U.S. civil rights law is designed to protect.

“We cannot leave their educations and their futures to chance. We must demand that the nation's Secretary of Education serve the interests of all students, including providing protections and safety for the most marginalized among us: LGBTQ students, students of color, students with disabilities, and female students, among others.”

The latest edition of GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey found that LGBTQ students who experienced discrimination and bullying and harassment at school were more than three times as likely to have missed school in the past month as those who did not, had lower GPAs, and had lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression. GLSEN has created model laws and policies for schools, districts and states to ensure LGBTQ students are safe and affirmed at school, including a model district policy for accommodating transgender and gender nonconforming students that complies with Title IX.

About GLSEN
GLSEN champions safe and affirming schools for all students. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach tens of thousands of K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of chapters brings GLSEN’s expertise to their local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for our work 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 glsen.org.

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