Despite pleas from parents, educators, and LGBTQ advocates across the U.S. (and even opposition from controversial Education Secretary Betsy DeVos), President Trump has lifted protections for trans students in school bathrooms. It's a move we've been dreading for a while — but being unsurprising doesn't make it any less terrible.
Today, AP reports the Trump administration has removed President Obama's federal guidelines allowing trans teens to use the school bathroom that corresponds with their gender. The Justice and Education departments wrote a letter to schools with the directive, providing no explanation other than that the "earlier directive caused confusion and lawsuits over how it should be applied."
The letter from the Education and Justice departments added that this removal will not affect anti-bullying safeguards in schools. One can only hope.
This comes less than two weeks after major LGBTQ groups rallied to plead with DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to uphold these valuable protections for trans students — some of America's most vulnerable kids. "Most importantly, these guidance documents have been instrumental in providing schools with the tools they need to protect the health, safety, and educational opportunities of millions of students," the advocates wrote of Obama's guidelines.
We have to wonder: Could this unwarranted removal of such crucial protections be a way that the Republican administration is testing our limits? Are Trump, DeVos and company trying to gauge how we'll react when they go after even more Obama-era protections (like the Title IX guidelines on dealing with sexual assault on campus)?