Dems rip DeVos over 'shameful' transgender change

Dems rip DeVos over 'shameful' transgender change
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

A group of Senate Democrats are demanding that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos explain how her agency will protect transgender students, after the Trump administration’s decision last month to revoke an Obama-era guidance to schools.

In a letter sent to DeVos on Friday, several Democratic members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee painted the administration’s decision as cold and chaotic, calling it “disturbing” and “shameful.”

“All students – no matter their race, religion, disability, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity – deserve to have their civil rights vigorously enforced and access to education free from discrimination fiercely protected,” the letter said.

Among those to sign the letter were Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package MORE (D-Mass.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayPelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic GOP, Democratic relief packages B apart on vaccine funding MORE (D-Wash.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenCNN publishes first Al Franken op-ed since resignation Political world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' MORE (D-Minn.), Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Biden: I'll have a running mate picked next week The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided GOP to unveil COVID-19 bill MORE (D-Wis.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Democrats seek to exploit Trump-GOP tensions in COVID-19 talks Liability shield fight threatens to blow up relief talks MORE (D-R.I.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

The senators also set a March 24 deadline for DeVos to submit to the committee answers to a set of questions about her perception of federal civil rights laws and how the Education Department views its responsibility to protect students.

The Trump administration last month revoked a set of Title IX protections implemented under former President Obama that allowed transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that aligned with their gender identities.

The Justice and Education departments argued that such guidance and decisions should be left up to state and local government, and that the federal government had no role in dictating such rules.

As a result of the Trump administration’s decision, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case about whether Gavin Grimm, a transgender male, should be allowed to use the the bathroom of his choice at school. The justices said the lower court should reconsider its ruling in light of the new guidance.