DeVos responds to revoked transgender protections: Example of Obama admin 'overreach'

DeVos responds to revoked transgender protections: Example of Obama admin 'overreach'
© Greg Nash

New Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended the Trump administration’s decision to rescind protections for transgender students, arguing that the protections were an “overreach” of the Obama administration.

Her comments come a day after the Trump administration rolled back protections for transgender students established by the Obama administration. The Obama-era directive allowed children to use school bathrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identities. 

“This issue was a very huge example of the Obama administration's overreach, to suggest one-size-fits-all, federal government approach,” DeVos said on Thursday at the conservative conference CPAC. 

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DeVos was initially opposed to the administration withdrawing from this directive, differing from Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsKislyak going back to Russia, embassy says Grassley calls on 'leaker' to release Sessions-Russia conversation After White House communication team shake up, Trump still tweeting MORE, who wanted to pull the protections.

At CPAC, Trump’s Education secretary largely reiterated her statement released on Wednesday, saying that she’s committed to protecting all students. The new guidance includes language directing schools to crack down on the bullying of transgender students.

“I have made it clear from the moment I’ve been in this job that it’s our job to protect students and to do that to the fullest extent we can,” DeVos continued, adding that she wants “to provide students, parents and teachers with more flexibility around how education is delivered.”

“The role of the federal government should be as light a touch as possible.”

—Mark Hensch contributed.