Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Confusion From On High

The Obama administration issued guideline for trans students to schools, many schools ignored them some got sued and other had their cases continued to the new administration which has closed the cases on them.
Education Department Closes Transgender Student Cases, Scales Back ‘Systemic’ Civil Rights Investigations
“It’s Open Season on Transgender Students”
New Civil Rights Movement
By Ryan Williams-Jent
June 17, 2017

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights this week has closed a case in which it had determined a transgender student had suffered discrimination at school. The move follows the office’s announcement that it will scale back “systemic” civil rights investigations.

“The agency communicated its decision in a letter this week to lawyers representing the girl, an elementary school student in Highland, Ohio,” The Washington Post reported.

“The letter provided no reason or legal justification for withdrawing its 2016 conclusion that the girl’s school wrongly barred her from the girls’ bathroom and failed to address the harassment she endured from classmates and teachers, who repeatedly addressed her with male pronouns and the male name she was given at birth.”
Then the OCR issued their guideline under the Trump administration,
Clarity or Confusion?
OCR issues new guidance that clear way for investigating some cases of transgender bias, but advocates for transgender students say the document is inadequate.
Inside Higher Ed
By Andrew Kreighbaum
June 19, 2017

A memo from the Department of Education on handling of transgender civil rights complaints instructs officials to continue investigating those complaints as they would have before 2016 guidance issued by the Obama administration.

The Obama administration's guidance said that anti-transgender bias was covered by laws against gender bias, and thus opened the way for investigations into such discrimination. Prior to that guidance, some cases involving transgender students were investigated as gender discrimination, but advocates for transgender students said some of their cases needed to be defined as anti-transgender bias.
But advocates said the significance of the document was unclear and they feared that it could create even more confusion for civil rights enforcement. Sejal Singh, campaigns and communications manager at the Center for American Progress's LGBT Research and Communications Project, said the whole point of guidance from the Office for Civil Rights is to clarify unclear law. The document notably does not mention access to bathrooms matching a student's gender identity as among the types of complaints officials should investigate, she said. That issue has been a key one at some colleges and in state legislation.

"It is definitely creating ambiguity that leaves actors space to create discriminatory actions," Singh said.
It is also not clear on how these new guidelines will effect Connecticut and other states that have protections for trans students.

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