The new regulation leaves to the states the regulation of the rights of transgender students attending public schools, especially the use of restrooms.
President Donald Trump issued new rules Wednesday to eliminate anti-discrimination protections for transgender students, contradicting the views of his Education Secretary, who had claimed several days ago that they would remain standing.
The regulations put in place by former President Barack Obama allowed transgender students in public schools to use restrooms of their gender identity.
Despite its entry into force, many critics argued that the rules threatened the safety and privacy of other students.
White House press chief Sean Spicer had previously indicated that such regulations should be the power of states, not the federal government.
Confrontation with DeVos?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been a strong opponent of expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, faced Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on this issue and according to sources quoted by The New York Times, Pressured him to give in, since without his consent he could not eliminate the protections created during the Obama administration.
Although the Justice Department chose to avoid talking about it, DeVos’ options were to support Trump’s initiative or submit his resignation.
The new Secretary of Education issued a statement advocating “the protection of all students, including #LGBTQ, not only a top priority for the Department (of education) but for all schools in the United States.” Despite the defense of the transgender students, DeVos expressed his agreement with the new administration’s initiative, stating that “this issue is best resolved at the state and local level. Schools, communities and families can – and have been able to – Find solutions that will protect all students. ”
He added that the “responsibility to protect every student … is not only a federal mandate, but an obligation that no individual, school, district or state can renounce.”
James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT project, said the decision shows that Trump’s pledges to defend the rights of LGBT populations were nothing more than “empty rhetoric.” In addition, he urged school districts to continue to protect their students from discrimination.
One of the justifications that the new government has presented to remove the protections is the apparent confusion that has been in the schools in making the rules effective.
Although Obama’s rules were not mandatory, they did warn schools that they could lose federal funds if they did not follow the new regulation.
Obama based his legal initiative on the interpretation of Title IX of the federal law prohibiting sexually motivated discrimination in education.
Centers, under federal law, “must provide transgender students with equal access to educational programs and activities even when other students, parents or members of the community raise objections or concerns,” the letter says. Moment the federal government issued to school districts.
The Obama administration noted that “as it is recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to respond to the discomfort of other people, can not justify a policy that points out and disadvantages a particular class of students.”
Regardless of President Trump’s sympathy for the rights of the LGBT community during his presidential campaign, everything seems to indicate that he finally yielded to pressures from conservative sectors that supported him and asked the Republican president to leave the issue in the hands of the states.