An eighth-grader wore a transgender pride flag around their neck like a cape during Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosDebt relief is now harder for students of for-profit colleges House fails to override Trump veto of bill blocking DeVos student loan rule DeVos issues new rule ordering more coronavirus relief to private schools MORE’s visit to a Michigan school on Tuesday.

Torin Hodgman identifies as “gender queer” and prefers the pronoun “they” or “them,” MLIVE, a Michigan news website, reported.

The 14-year-old said they wanted to make a statement when DeVos came for a roundtable discussion at Grand Rapids Public Museum School.

"Public schools are a place for all children," Hodgman said.

Hodgman didn’t get to ask DeVos a question about transgender students, but told MLIVE they hope DeVos will push for policies to make school a safe place for transgender students.


While Hodgman said they feel safe at their Michigan school, LGBTQ students elsewhere do not.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a survey earlier this month that found that only 26 percent of LGBTQ students said they always feel safe in their school classrooms.

Only 5 percent said all of their teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ people.

The HRC also projected messages on the side of the U.S. Department of Education headquarters last week, criticizing DeVos over policies impacting LGBTQ students.

“Betsy DeVos, how do you sleep at night when only 26 percent of LGBTQ youth always feel safe in class?” one of the messages read.