Transgender students' civil rights guidance issued by Trump administration

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"We applaud the Commission's decision to investigate the Trump administration's systematic, across-the-board rollback on civil and human rights".

Identified as such allegations in the letter is "failure to promptly and equitably resolve a transgender student's complaint of sex discrimination"; failure to assess whether harassment of transgender students, including the refusal to use their preferred gender pronouns, is motivated by animus; or retaliation against a transgender student for looking into potential sex discrimination claims.

Shorly after the Department of Education's memo was published, yet another internal memo, obtained by the Washington Post, indicated the department would similarly scale back investigations into encroachments on the rights of transgender students.

However, groups that advocate for transgender students fear that the OCR is trying to shirk responsibility for protecting students against bathroom discrimination.

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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. Specifically, the instructions say that investigators should not reject gender harassment allegations in a complaint, even if they have dismissed allegations involving "denial of access to restrooms based on gender identity".

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued new guidance to employees on how best to deal with discrimination complaints lodged by transgender students.

"GLSEN calls on OCR to specify whether they will defend trans students' access to safe and appropriate school facilities - regardless of where the student lives or what local protections may or may not exist".

"It seems that what they are saying is that they will enforce the law for some students and not others", Keisling said. "Along with changing programmatic priorities, these proposed cuts would result in a risky reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country, leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination".

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The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights this week closed a long-running discrimination case involving a transgender student and withdrew its earlier findings that the girl had suffered discrimination at school, a move that comes amid the Trump administration's push to scale back civil rights investigations in public schools.

However, Vanita Gupta, the former acting head of the DOJ's civil rights division under Obama, said, "At best, this administration believes that civil rights enforcement is superfluous and can be easily cut".

After revoking Obama-era guidance assuring transgender kids in school have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity, the Department of Education has issued new rules indicating the Trump administration may seek to adjudicate situations in which schools are allowing student harassment based on gender identity.

Elizabeth Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said the change in approach is meant to ensure that investigations are resolved more quickly.

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Now, in fairness to Devos, the Office for Civil Rights currently faces a sizeable backlog, and both complainants and schools have criticized the length of the investigations. "By undertaking a comprehensive investigation, the Commission, an independent, bipartisan agency, can play an important role in documenting and evaluating the federal government's commitment to enforcing the Constitution and federal civil rights laws". Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement Thursday.

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