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ED Again Puts Transgender Youth at Risk
Media Relations Manager
Removing Legal Documents Related to Transgender Youth by Trump Administration, ED Again Puts Transgender Youth at Risk
“Any reasonable person must ask, where will this end?” -Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director
New York, NY (March 8th, 2018) – Today, one year after meeting with Secretary DeVos and GLSEN staff, students, and their parents, it was reported by POLITICO that in November the Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights eliminated legal documents from the department’s website aimed at supporting transgender youth facing discrimination by their school districts. This latest move comes on the heels of the one-year anniversary of the department’s rescission of trans-inclusive guidance to schools regarding protections for trans youth under Title IX. The legal documents eliminated from the website include resolutions to seven federal civil rights complaints previously filed and three federal court filings in support of trans students rights to access bathrooms and school facilities matching their gender identity.
Two of the deleted court documents had been filed by the Obama administration in support of a trans student who sued for access to the boy's bathroom at his Virginia high school. Another deleted document was an agreement between the Obama administration and the Dorchester County School District in South Carolina. The deleted documents demonstrate best practices for how schools have resolved past discrimination complaints through inclusive policies that support and protect trans students, and all students, in schools.
GLSEN's Executive Director, Eliza Byard released the following statement:
“A year ago, Secretary DeVos sat down and spoke with trans youth, their parents, and me, where we listened to DeVos tell us she would ‘protect trans youth.’ Yet every action taken by this administration and department to date, have proven otherwise.
DeVos’ Department of Education has continually shown they have no interest in protecting trans students, from the initial trans-inclusive guidance repeal one year ago, to the recent revelation that the ED Office for Civil Rights would no longer accept or investigate claims of discrimination from trans students and their families related to access to school facilities, to today’s report that legal documents supporting trans-inclusive schools have been deleted from the department’s website.
Despite two federal court decisions affirming protections for trans youth under Title IX, President Trump and Secretary DeVos continue to push forward their own discriminatory personal agenda above the lives of trans youth. Any reasonable person must ask, where will this end?
We’ve already seen how the Trump Administration has removed LGBTQ people and issues from surveys to services across the federal government, we’re heard this administration’s racist dog whistles on Muslims and Mexicans, and most recently the administration’s current attempts to gut the Americans with Disabilities Act.
We must ask, President Trump and Secretary DeVos: who are you willing to protect? Which laws will you decide to follow and which will you ignore for your personal politics? How many more federal appeals courts have to rule on the rights of trans youth under Title IX before you’ll do your job?
Despite Secretary DeVos assertions that she would protect trans youth while speaking with us last year, her department’s consistent refusal to protect trans youth under existing law -- or even investigate reports of discrimination -- is indefensible.”
The following additional statements are provided by students and parents who, along with GLSEN’s Eliza Byard, attended a meeting with Secretary DeVos on March 8 of last year:
"A year ago, I took time out of school to meet with Secretary DeVos with my mom. She sat right across from me swore up and down that she’d work to protect us and that she was only trying to do what was best. It’s clear now that it simply isn’t a priority for this administration to ensure the dignity and the protections afforded to students like me under Title IX” said Grace Dolan-Sandrino, a trans high school senior in Washington, DC.
“Over the past year, I have met with hundreds of fearful parents who worry about their trans child. We worry that they will be marginalized, bullied, or worse. My husband and I expressed our fears for our six-year-old trans daughter, Ellie and other kids like her. Secretary DeVos also noted how she too, had a six-year-old granddaughter. Operating in good faith, I took her at her word when she said she would do her best to make sure that everyone was protected and respected at school. She recently expressed hurt feeling by those say she’s hurting children. Any educator knows that you don’t get an ‘A’ without doing what you're supposed to do. And right now Sec. DeVos is failing the students of America.” said Vanessa Ford, educator, and mother to a trans daughter.
“At the heart of this issue are transgender students who are vulnerable and in need of champions who will stand up for them. Last year, I shared with Sec. DeVos the story of my son Kyler and how he took his own life because of the challenges he faced as a young trans person. She made many promises, and in that meeting, she asked me ‘How we could hold her accountable?’ luckily the children of America are doing that for her.” said Katherine Prescott mother of a trans teen of Kyler (2000-2015).
Related GLSEN Research:
Nearly a third (32%) of LGBTQ students already considering dropping out reported that gendered school policies and hostile climate were a reason for their decision. The Department of Education has ignored our federal courts' decisions which have already ruled in favor of trans youth. The DOE has publicly stated that they refuse to investigate reports of discrimination. These actions are widely perceived as politically motivated by the Trump administration to deny trans people their humanity and livelihoods.”
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 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 www.glsen.org.