Friday, June 16, 2017

Memo lays out Trump administration’s approach to handling transgender students’ civil rights complaints - The Washington Post

Memo lays out Trump administration’s approach to handling transgender students’ civil rights complaints - The Washington Post:

Memo lays out Trump administration’s approach to handling transgender students’ civil rights complaints

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The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has directed its lawyers to consider transgender students’ discrimination complaints on a case-by-case basis, according to an internal memo obtained by The Washington Post, which makes clear that lawyers may decide to dismiss complaints related to the polarizing issue of transgender students’ access to school bathrooms.
Candice Jackson, acting head of the civil rights office, said she sent the memo to clarify that transgender students may still have valid discrimination complaints even though the Trump administration withdrew guidance specifying that they have a right under federal law to use school bathroom and locker room facilities corresponding to their gender identity.
“It was very important to the secretary and to myself that our investigators not make the mistake of assuming that just because that particular guidance has been rescinded, that all complaints filed by transgender students are going to be dismissed,” Jackson said in an interview Friday. “We wanted to very carefully explain in written format to our field that every investigator assigned to one of these cases needs to go through and individually examine every complaint, and actively search for ways that OCR can retain jurisdiction over the complaint.”
Some civil rights advocates immediately assailed the memo as part of an attempt by the Trump administration to whittle away at civil rights enforcement.
“This guidance says that OCR gets to pick and choose which cases it will open, and it could be appropriate to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction an allegation that a transgender student is not able to access a bathroom consistent with their gender identity,” said Catherine Lhamon, who helmed the Office for Civil Rights under President Barack Obama and now chairs the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “That is not an option under the law, and OCR does not have the option to pick and choose the cases it wants to open.”
While working under Obama, Lhamon helped write guidance explaining to schools that Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination, protects students’ right to use bathrooms Memo lays out Trump administration’s approach to handling transgender students’ civil rights complaints - The Washington Post:

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