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Betsy DeVos Quietly Changes Education Dept’s Official Policy on Discrimination Against Transgender Students

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Change Made Secretly With No Public Statement or Opportunity for Public Comment

The U.S. Dept. of Education has now formalized its policy on complaints from transgender students barred from restrooms that correspond with their gender identity: reject them. 

Betsy DeVos Dept. of Education “has told BuzzFeed News it won’t investigate or take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity,” Dominic Holden of Buzzfeed News reports. “It’s the first time officials have asserted this position as a formal interpretation of law. No public announcement has been made.”

Education Dept. spokesperson Liz Hill told Buzzfeed, “yes, that’s what the law says,” when Buzzfeed asked if it is the department’s position that complaints on restroom use from transgender students are not covered by federal civil rights law, specifically Title IX.

“Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity,” Hill added.

Federal courts have ruled otherwise, stating that discrimination against transgender students is sex discrimination and thus covered under the 1972 federal law.

“Until now, the official position of the Department has been that Title IX protects all students and that they were evaluating how that protection applies to the issue of bathroom access,” Obama-era Education Department head of the Office for Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon, told BuzzFeed News via email. “This new categorical bar of civil rights protection for transgender children required to attend schools every day ignores the text of the law, courts’ interpretation of the law, the stated position of the Department to date, and human decency.”

One of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ first acts was to rescind the Obama-era guidance helping public schools protect the civil rights of transgender students. Days later she called the guidance “a very huge example of Obama administration overreach.”

DeVos then went on to ignore the racism and segregation that led to the establishment of America’s historically Black colleges and universities, calling HBCUs “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”

Last May DeVos suggested she did not oppose anti-LGBT discrimination, noting “school choice” resolves the issue by giving parents and students options to go to schools that don’t discriminate. Weeks later she told the U.S. Senate she would not work to prevent or prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ students.

In June DeVos’ Civil Rights Office closed cases from transgender students, and scaled back investigations into anti-transgender discrimination. 

Four months later DeVos quietly eliminated 72 documents on civil rights protections for students with disabilities. Also in October DeVos scrapped an Obama-era rule set to go into effect that would protect minority students from being placed disproportionally in classes for students with special needs.

Image by U.S. Dept. of Education via Flickr and a CC license

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‘I Think Someone May Be Trying to Kill Me’: Matt Gaetz Spins Stunning Conspiracy Theory on House Floor

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) made an unexpected announcement during a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

“I think someone may be trying to kill me,” Gaetz said shortly after he was recognized on the House floor. “If they are successful, I would like my constituents and my family to know who stopped their arrest.”

Gaetz then claimed that he received a death threat from someone who claimed to be a professional hit man on Twitter and who supposedly traveled to Washington D.C.

According to Gaetz, the Capitol Police recommended that the individual be arrested, but the Department of Justice supposedly refused to take action.

Watch the video below.

 

 

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COMMENTARY

Republicans Just Filibustered a Critical Voting Rights Bill. Here’s Why Everyone Is Blaming Joe Manchin.

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Minutes ago Senate Republicans filibustered critical voting rights legislation – actually, filibustered debate on voting rights legislation. They refused to even allow debate on protecting the most important, most critical element of a democracy: the right and the ability to vote.

“If there is anything worthy of the Senate’s attention, if there’s any issue that merits debate on this floor, it is protecting our democracy from the forces that are trying to unravel it from the inside out,” Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after Republicans blocked debate on the bill.

While Republicans absolutely should be and are being held accountable, many on social media are blaming Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) for the failure to pass the Freedom to Vote Act.

Why?

Back in May Sen. Manchin insisted he could get Republicans to come to the table, to act in good faith, to do the right thing when it counted.

He insisted the filibuster had to be protected at all costs, and he’s steadfastly refused to budge on eliminating it. Even as Republicans in state after state after state enact anti-democratic legislation designed to make it harder and harder for people, especially minorities, to vote.

In short, he failed.

Not a single Republican crossed the aisle – much less ten to get the necessary 60 votes – not even to allow debate on protecting voting rights.

And now many are blaming Manchin.

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BYE?

‘It’s BS’: Manchin Denies Report He’s Considering Quitting Democratic Party Over Build Back Better Bill’s Cost

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U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of two Democratic lawmakers dramatically endangering President Joe Biden’s historic plan to strengthen the social safety net, is denying a report from the well-respected progressive news outlet Mother Jones that he is considering leaving the Democratic Party, and has a plan to do so.

“It’s bullshit,” says the West Virginia Democrat who is demanding Biden’s Build Back Better plan come in at $1.75 trillion. (The original price tag was $7 trillion.)

CNN’s Manu Raju got the scoop:

Mother Jones’ David Corn reported Wednesday Manchin “has told associates that he is considering leaving the Democratic Party if President Joe Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill do not agree to his demand to cut the size of the social infrastructure bill from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion, according to people who have heard Manchin discuss this. Manchin has said that if this were to happen, he would declare himself an ‘American Independent.’ And he has devised a detailed exit strategy for his departure.”

That plan involves resigning from Senate Democratic leadership, then, depending on the response from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, leaving the party altogether.

“Through it all,” Corn adds, Manchin “has insisted that $1.75 trillion is his top and final offer, and he has constantly said no to proposed programs that almost every other congressional Democrat supports. He has told his fellow Democrats that if they don’t accept his position, they risk getting nothing.”

 

 

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