The recent announcement by the Education Department that it will no longer investigate transgender bathroom complaints is reprehensible [“Education Dept. isn’t investigating bathroom cases,” news, Feb. 14]. As a professor of education and LGBTQ+ youth advocate, while I’m disgusted by this announcement, I am ultimately not surprised, as the Trump administration continues to demonstrate its lack of care for marginalized students.
This announcement signals several important points. First, it furthers the negative impact started by rescinding protections under Title IX by eliminating legal provisions for families who want to challenge schools’ policies and practices. Second, this decision sends a clear message of support to homophobic and transphobic faculty and administrators who hold active bias against trans students by removing protections at the federal level. Third, and most important, it encourages and continues a cycle of violence against our transgender and gender-fluid students — something that tends to translate into higher rates of self-harm and suicide.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stated that LGBTQ+ students still will be protected within learning environments against bullying, but she forgot the violence that happens in bathrooms and how these protections send a message to those who might enact violence against transgender students. In an all-too-familiar move, Ms. DeVos again has ignored the reality of what actually happens in public schools. In sum, school should always feel like a safe and inclusive environment. This decision willfully disregards the physical safety and emotional health of our youths.
Boni Wozolek, Baltimore