Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified today in front of the House Education and Labor Committee, fielding questions about her controversial decisions to roll back affirmative action guidelines, as well as trans-inclusive guidelines put in place during the Obama administration. Civil Rights Subcommittee Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici, a Democratic congresswoman from Oregon, was not about to let DeVos get off the hook for putting the lives of trans youth in danger.
"When you rolled back [the trans-inclusive] guidance did you know that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression and anxiety for transgender students?," Bonamici asked. "Did you know that?"
DeVos responding by dodging, saying the government's Office of Civil Rights is committed to all students having equal access to education. Bonamici was undeterred, again asking DeVos if she knew the harm she was causing by rescinding policies that encouraged schools to acknowledge the gender identity of trans students.
"I do know [the harm it caused], but I can say again OCR is committed to ensuring all students have access to education..."
Bonamici followed up by asking DeVos if she was aware of a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics that uncovered shocking rates of suicide attempts by trans youth.
"I'm aware of that data," DeVos said.
.@RepBonamici to Sec. DeVos: When you rolled back guidance protecting rights of transgender students, did you know that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance/grades as well as depression for transgender students?
Sec. DeVos: I do know that... pic.twitter.com/KhzISXJayf
— Committee on Education & Labor (@EdLaborCmte) April 10, 2019