(Sacramento) - Following a report published Saturday by Politico's Caitlin Emma detailing U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos's refusal to investigate at least five civil rights complaints filed by transgender students, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), California Legislative LGBT Caucus Chair Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) and Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur released the following joint statement:
"Secretary DeVos' egregious failure to protect transgender public school students from discrimination, bullying and harassment is not just a dereliction of her duty to enforce federal civil rights laws, but part of a larger campaign by the Trump-Pence Administration to dehumanize transgender Americans. Time and again, Ms. DeVos has chosen to put her own political agenda ahead of the needs of the nation's most vulnerable students. It is time for Ms. DeVos to take seriously the oath she took to serve all students — including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — and to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn in an environment free of discrimination and harassment."
Last year, Secretary DeVos and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama Era federal guidance outlining how transgender students are protected from discrimination under Title IX requirements, which forbid federally funded schools from discriminating on the basis of sex. But while the U.S. Department of Education has failed to protect LGBTQ students, California has continued to lead. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced Assemblymember Thurmond's AB 2153, sponsored by Equality California, to provide teachers and school staff with the training they need to support LGBTQ students.
Following the press conference, Rick Zbur and Assemblymembers Evan Low and Tony Thurmond detailed their concerns in a letter to Secretary DeVos.
Below are links to audio of Speaker Rendon, Assemblymembers Low and Thurmond and the entire news conference (which includes remarks from Equality California’s Joe Michael and Assemblymembers Blanca E. Rubio and Richard Bloom:
Opening remarks from Speaker Anthony Rendon. (:55)
Remarks from Assemblymember Low. (:34)
Remarks from Assemblymember Thurmond. (2:11)
Entire news conference. (9:53)