Trump officials dismissed discrimination complaints from transgender students: report

Trump officials dismissed discrimination complaints from transgender students: report

The Education Department has dismissed complaints from transgender students over discrimination, claiming the issue no longer falls under its jurisdiction, according to a new report.

The department’s Office for Civil Rights has told at least three transgender students that it is no longer required to handle matters related to alleged discrimination, HuffPost reported Tuesday.

The move comes after the department rescinded an Obama-era guidance that said transgender students should be allowed to use the restroom facilities that match their gender identity. The Trump administration says those decisions should be made at the local level.

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“OCR determined we do not have subject matter jurisdiction over Allegation 1, insomuch as the alleged discriminatory conduct you described does not raise any prohibitive bases under the civil rights laws OCR enforces,” an agency letter dismissing one complaint read, according to HuffPost.  

After rescinding the guidance, OCR officials told staffers to rely on “Title IX and its implementing regulations ... in evaluating complaints of sex discrimination against individuals whether or not the individual is transgender.”

However, LGBTQ advocates told HuffPost that the department’s dismissal of the complaints goes against recent court rulings that protect transgender students.

The number of complaints about discrimination against transgender students filed to the OCR in the Trump administration has also dropped sharply, by about 40 percent, compared to the number sent during the same time period under Obama.

It’s unclear if the drop in complaints is tied to the change in leadership.

Some LGBTQ advocates told HuffPost they believe transgender students might be less willing to file complaints under the Trump administration.

A Department of Education spokesperson did not return HuffPost’s requests for comment about the number of complaints received or the administration’s policy about the treatment of transgender students. 

The Education Department has focused its efforts on rolling back regulations officials have deemed unnecessary, including Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault and guidance that outlined the rights of students with disabilities.