Education Secretary Betsy DeVos isn't bothering to protect LGBTQ students anymore


It's a break from the Obama administration, which made a strong commitment to LGBTQ youth.

With Betsy DeVos at the helm, the Department of Education has functionally ceased to investigate complaints brought by LGBTQ students.

According to a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), the department has wholly undermined the civil rights protections for those students. This stands in stark contrast to the Obama administration, which made a strong commitment to issuing guidance and investigating complaints.

That is all gone now. The department isn't investigating most complaints brought by LGBTQ students. That's particularly true for those brought by trans students. And when the department does investigate, it has become highly unlikely it will require any corrective action on the part of the school.

It isn't as if the Education Department kept this secret. In early 2018, DeVos confirmed the department was no longer investigating complaints from trans students over their right to use the bathroom that conforms to their gender identity.

All other types of complaints by LGBTQ students are also now largely unsuccessful. CAP found that complaints were "more than nine times less likely to result in corrective action than they were under the Obama administration."

Under DeVos, only 2.4% of complaints from LGBTQ students have led to the Education Department requiring the school to take some sort of action. Under Obama, it was 22.4%.

LGBTQ students are a particularly vulnerable population. CAP noted than half of LGBTQ students said they had been sexually harassed at school and nearly 30% were physically harassed.

This harassment leads to heightened risks for LGBTQ students. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are "roughly four times more likely to consider or attempt suicide than their straight peers." Trans students are "approximately four to six times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers."

LGBTQ students aren't the only ones who have fallen victim to DeVos' cruelty. She has been equally awful to students who were ripped off by shady lenders, particularly veterans. She has also pointedly looked the other way when her own department issued a report confirming that racial bias fuels disciplinary procedures in schools.

DeVos is overseeing the dismantling of her department's regulatory functions and happily attacking the most defenseless people her agency is supposed to protect. With that, she's the perfect Cabinet member for the Trump era.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.