Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Wednesday night that her agency is still committed to protecting all students, including transgender youth, following the Trump administration’s move to rescind an Obama-era rule mandating transgender bathrooms in public schools.
“We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment,” Mrs. DeVos said in a statement. “This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual, school, district or state can abdicate.”
She added, “I have dedicated my career to advocating for and fighting on behalf of students, and as Secretary of Education, I consider protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the department, but for every school in America.”
The Departments of Education and Justice issued guidance earlier Wednesday rolling back the Obama administration order. The mandate had been halted in federal court after 12 states sued the government last year.
Mrs. DeVos, who raised concerns in a White House meeting Tuesday about the new guidance, said the issue is “best solved at the state and local level.”
“Schools, communities, and families can find – and in many cases have found – solutions that protect all students,” she said.
But she also said her department’s Office for Civil Rights “remains committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.”
“We owe all students a commitment to ensure they have access to a learning environment that is free of discrimination, bullying and harassment,” Mrs. DeVos said.