Ex-Education head: Trump transgender rollback ‘thoughtless, cruel’

Ex-Education head: Trump transgender rollback ‘thoughtless, cruel’
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Former President Obama’s Education secretary says the Trump administration is causing damage and putting children at risk by rolling back protections for transgender students.

“This week’s decision by the Trump administration to withdraw guidance to school communities about how to protect transgender students reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the federal role in protecting the civil rights of students,” Arne DuncanArne DuncanTrump administration is putting profits over students Chicago to make future plans a graduation requirement: report Top Education official resigned over dispute with DeVos: report MORE wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday.

“Worse yet, it confuses states and school districts, and puts real, live children at greater risk of harm,” he added in the article co-authored with Catherine Lhamon, Obama’s former assistant Education secretary for civil rights.

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“This decision was thoughtless, cruel and sad and was implemented without serious consideration for the students it effects.”

Duncan and Lhamon added the federal government is responsible for protecting the civil rights of transgender and other minority students.

“On issues such as standards and curriculum, the federal government rightfully defers to states and districts,” they said. "But when it comes to protecting students, the law is clear: Civil rights are paramount.

“These are real issues affecting real people and carrying consequences every day for children in classrooms. They deserve better.”

The Trump administration on Wednesday rescinded Obama-era protections for transgender students that allowed them to use school facilities like bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat House passes concealed carry gun bill Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week MORE said in a statement that the past guidelines lacked a solid foundation in pre-existing law, specifically Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.

“Congress, state legislatures and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue,” he said.

LGBT groups and Democrats have voiced outrage over the decision, arguing it leaves transgender students vulnerable to discrimination and harassment.

Religious conservatives opposed the Obama-era guidance as improper social engineering, charging that students should use the bathrooms that match their sex assigned at birth.