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Betsy DeVos Says She Knew of Potential Harms—Like Anxiety, Depression, Lower Test Scores—When She Rescinded Obama-Era Protections for Transgender Students

April 10, 2019
In The News

Education Secretary Betsy Devos told lawmakers that she knew the harms of rolling back the Obama administration’s protections for transgender students before she rescinded them.

DeVos appeared before the House Education and Labor Committee on Wednesday to testify about the Department of Education's policies and priorities. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, an Oregon Democrat, pressed DeVos on how her department was protecting transgender students from discrimination since the revocation of the 2016 protections. The Obama-era rule extended Title IX rights to students who were transgender and directed public schools to allow students to use bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity even if that conflicted with the gender on their birth certificates.

“When you rolled back that guidance, did you know that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression and anxiety for transgender students?” Bonamici asked.

DeVos started to explain that the Office for Civil Rights was “committed” to protecting all students and making sure they were given equal access to education before Bonamici quickly cut her off.

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