March 10, 2017
Despite pressure from the Department of Education and the newly appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, President Trump recalled protections for transgender children who want to use the school bathroom that matches their gender identity. The Justice Department joined civil rights officials from the Education Department arguing for continued choice by students when it came to bathroom use.
DeVos was pitted against Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the case. He vowed to act quickly because of two upcoming cases that might have strengthened transgendered protections at schools, resulting in additional lawsuits. She originally hesitated to sign the legislation because of the possible damage that might come to transgender children. However, Sessions opposed the directive. When DeVos refused to relent, he finally went to President Trump who sided with him. Feeling backed into a corner, DeVos agreed with the President. However, she later stated that she felt all schools across the nation had a moral responsibility to protect every student from any type of harassment, discrimination or bullying.
Outside the White House, protestors objected loudly to the ruling. However, each school can still let transgender students use the bathroom of choice. A federal injunction was already in place that blocked the original order signed by President Obama.
Social conservatives celebrated the decision. They believe that the prior permissions for transgender students regarding bathroom access instead gave predators permission to seek out victims. The President previously took a permissive approach to same-sex marriage and gay rights. He now seems to be backpedaling and caving to pressure from staunch conservatives.
Republicans have tried to stay out of the fray when it comes to this civil rights matter. Many in the party want to focus on fiscal matters instead of worrying about social issues.
Opponents of the ruling feel that the administration behaved poorly, placing many young people at risk. Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, called the matter a civil rights issue. Even so, the legislation protects all students from bullying, a concession that DeVos requested.
If your transgender or LGBTQI child is bullied at school due to his or her sexual identity, contact our law firm to find out your rights. Despite the setbacks of the Trump administration, all students have the right to learn in a safe environment.