Betsy DeVos Is Not The Enemy Here: Opposing Trump’s Overturning of Transgender Bathroom Bill
It may come as a surprise to some of us, but Betsy DeVos did in fact oppose Donald Trump’s rescinding of a bill protecting transgender public school students’ use of the gender bathroom of their own choice. Indeed, the new education secretary was overruled directly by Trump.
The guidelines for the Obama administration’s 2016 protections were originally issued jointly by the Departments of Justice and Education. The two departments are still discussing details of the final wording of the order and DeVos has pushed for including a requirement that public schools ensure that transgender students are able to “learn in a safe environment” free from bullying.
Good for her, I say. At least someone in the new cabinet cares about minority and vulnerable groups! But she has already been criticized harshly on social media for not pushing back harder against the new administration’s draft despite her efforts.
It was a joint letter by officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department that countered the Obama administration’s stance that nondiscrimination laws should include the right for transgender students to use bathrooms of their own choice. The letter went on to criticize the Obama directive as improper and lacking “regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”
The “bathroom debate” as it is generally known, is exposing what may be a rift in the Trump administration. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is in the middle of it, opposing both President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to The New York Times, DeVos resisted Sessions’ push to quickly move forward and advised Donald Trump of the harm to students that rescinding the bill could cause.
After Secretary of Education DeVos was pressured into dropping her objections, she released a statement strongly urging every school in America to protect all students from discrimination and harassment as its moral obligation. Further, DeVos directed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate all claims of such treatment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.
She is having a tough go of it so far. Is she making enemies among the wolves? Who could blame her?
LGBT issues was a core issue for opponents of DeVos’ recent nomination, considering the substantial donations that her wealthy and politically renown family members have given to anti-gay causes in the past.
So who is Betsy DeVos anyway? Has she really earned the ire of the public and the disapproval of the new administration?
She has distanced herself from those relatives noting that her views are not in line with theirs. Some report that she has for man years been supportive of gay rights and has famously voiced concern about the high rates of suicide among transgender students. She holds degrees in both Business and Political Science and her resume is dotted with political and philanthropic work. She is currently chair of a private group investing in tech, manufacturing and clean energy. She has also served on the board of the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, which promotes education.
Although only time will truly tell, I say we extend DeVos the courtesy of an open mind