Senate Dems step forward for transgender students

In a 5-page letter sent to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Friday, several Democratic members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee painted the administration’s decision as cold and chaotic, calling it “disturbing” and “shameful.”

All students – no matter their race, religion, disability, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity – deserve to have their civil rights vigorously enforced and access to education free from discrimination fiercely protected.

--the letter

Several Democrats on the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions sent DeVos a letter Friday asking for a briefing with her to better understand how she will enforce civil rights for all students.

The letter headed by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) also featured prominent Democratic co-signers like Sens. Al Franken (Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). Their message expressed outrage at the secretary’s decision to rescind the guidance, and says the move has sent schools around the country into a tailspin of confusion. The letter also asks DeVos to respond to written questions over how she plans to enforce Title IX for all students by the end of March.

The rights and protections granted by Congress to students under Title IX are rights granted to all Americans, including transgender students, and cannot be overturned, dismantled or vetoed by the States. And yet, this Administration describing transgender student's rights under the law as "best solved at the state and local level," which is echoed in the new guidance that says "there must be due regard for the primary role of the States and local school districts," further confuses the role the Department is required by Congress to play. It is the role of the federal government, including your Department, to vigorously enforce and protect the rights of every student, in every school, in every state in the country.

--the letter

Among the questions:

Please state with specificity the ways in which the learning environment for transgender students is made safer by the revocation of the guidance."

How is the withdrawal of transgender guidance consistent with the 'federal mandate' and 'moral obligation' you describe all schools as having to protect students from bullying, harassment, and discrimination?

Do you believe that states and localities may choose whether to comply with federal civil rights laws?"

"Did the Department consult with any advocates for transgender people before revoking the guidance?

Who made the decision to revoke the transgender guidance?

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