Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has “thrown out” formal civil rights complaints filed by students and former students who are transgender, a report at Politico shows. It also appears some if not all of the complaints thrown out were not officially resolved and the victims were not notified. Other cases brought by trans students have been languishing for years.
Politico states that “an examination of federal records by POLITICO shows” that “at least five” complaints “involving transgender students denied bathroom access [were] thrown out by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has halted such investigations.”
Additionally, a transgender student identified as Drake “said his bathroom-related complaint hasn’t been dismissed, but his case has stalled for three years. He doesn’t know why.”
The news outlet, “in an attempt to track administration action on bathroom access for transgender students reviewed 107 complaints filed with the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights since January 2014.”
“All were in connection with transgender students who alleged different treatment, exclusion or a denial of benefits under Title IX — federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. Among the complaints were at least six involving students who were denied access to bathrooms of their choice and five that were dismissed.”
As one of her first acts DeVos infamously in February of 2017 rescinded Obama-era guidance designed to help schools and administrators protect the civil rights of transgender students.
Last week Fast Company revealed that according to Omarosa Manigault Newman’s news book, Devos had mocked the intelligence of some of the Black students who protested her commencement speech at a Historically Black University.
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Newsmax Host Says Pride Month Makes Heterosexuals ‘Feel Marginalized,’ LGBTQ People Are No Longer ‘Persecuted’
A Newsmax host on Thursday celebrated the end of Pride Month, declaring anti-LGBTQ attacks, marginalization, discrimination, and bullying in the past, claiming Americans were required to display the LGBTQ Pride flag or risk getting “in trouble,” while lamenting the concept of “pride” as exclusionary and “a negative thing.”
“It’s June 30. I gotta say, I’m glad that June is over. The flag, pride, whatever. What was it, Gay Pride Month, right? I mean, it was, it was too much,” said Greg Kelly, a host on the far-right-wing network.
“It was just too much, everywhere. If you had a business, if you had a building, if you had a house, if you had a dog house, you had to put a flag, a gay pride flag up, or else you could be in trouble,” he said falsely.
Kelly then denounced the “relentless programming,” and the “celebration.”
“You see, this has gotten so big, that those of us who happen to be heterosexual feel excluded, feel marginalized,” Kelly insisted.
“Now, I don’t want anybody to feel that way. And I do know that gay people were persecuted unfairly, they could be targeted and canceled. But that’s not America anymore. That’s long ago,” he claimed, literally days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a civil right to privacy, with one Justice warning specifically that the constitutional right of same-sex couples to engage in intimate contact and to marry should be reviewed and the “error” corrected.
In mid-June Kelly claimed, “this Pride month is borderline out-of-control.”
On Thursday Kelly closed his commentary by saying, “when it comes to gay pride, it’s not the gay part. But frankly, it’s the pride part. Pride is actually a negative thing, isn’t it?”
Watch video below or at this link:
Newsmax host complains about Pride Month: “This has gotten so big that those of us who happen to be heterosexual feel excluded, feel marginalized” pic.twitter.com/3w3gVpH85v
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 1, 2022
Ron DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Goes Into Effect Today as Schools Scramble to Avoid Parental Lawsuits
Even before Republicans in Florida passed Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Don’t Say Gay” bill some defenders of the anti-LGBTQ legislation insisted it applied only to kindergarten through third grade, and that anyone who opposed the bill – as the governor’s official spokesperson charged – was “probably a groomer.”
But LGBTQ advocates, activists, and supporters made clear the purposefully broad and vague language in the bill and the threat inserted into the legislation allowing parents to sue for perceived violations would have a chilling effect.
They were right.
The “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially the “Parental Rights in Education” law, goes into effect today, July 1, after DeSantis, at an event held at a charter school exempt from the legislation in March, surrounded by young children, talked about the bill and signed it into law.
Educators across the state’s 67 school districts are seeing just how extensive it is being interpreted and implemented, given the near-total lack of guidance from the DeSantis administration.
In March, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a warning to Florida, saying “The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported,” he said.
But aside from that broadside, the federal government appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach.
Meanwhile, reports from across Florida say districts’ legal counsel have warned that teachers should remove LGBTQ supportive materials, including rainbow and pride stickers, and even stickers denoting a particular classroom is a “safe space,” They have warned teachers should not wear anything with a rainbow and should remove any family photos if they include a same-sex spouse or partner. That same warning did not go to teachers with different-sex spouses or partners, leading some legal experts to warn of constitutional violations.
LGBTQ teachers, especially those who teach students in grades K-3, have also been warned to not discuss their family lives or even mention same-sex spouses or partners. And teachers and other school officials have been directed to look for anything LGBTQ-related, including books in school libraries.
But it hasn’t stopped there. Teachers have been told they are required to report – “out” – any student who comes out as LGBTQ.
Spectrum News reports Florida’s Orange County Public Schools “held a legal camp for 600 principals, vice-principals, and junior administrators,” specifically telling them, “Teachers must notify parents if a student comes out as gay to them.” Not an administrator, but a teacher.
ABC affiliate WFTV reports that Orange County Teachers’ Association (CTA) says “teachers will have to report to parents if a student ‘comes out’ to them and they must use pronouns assigned at birth, regardless of what the parents allow.”
Elsewhere in Florida, if there are questions about a student’s gender identity before or during overnight school trips that student will be outed not only to their own parents but to the parents of all the students in their class.
NBC News reports on Tuesday “the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a provision to alert parents if a student who is ‘open about their gender identity’ is in their child’s physical education class or with them on an overnight school trip.”
“Upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity, parents of the affected students will be notified of reasonable accommodation options available,” NBC reports the guidelines read. “Parents or students who have concerns about rooming assignments for their student’s upcoming overnight event based on religious or privacy concerns may request an accommodation.”
NBC also reports that in late May, “the School District of Palm Beach County sent out a questionnaire asking its teachers to review all course material and flag any books with references to sexual orientation, gender identity or race, said a Palm Beach County high school special education teacher, Michael Woods. Several weeks previously, the district removed two books — ‘I Am Jazz’ and ‘Call Me Max’ — that touch upon gender identity, he said.”
Texas Educators Want to Change ‘Slavery’ to ‘Involuntary Relocation’ After GOP Bans Topics Making Students ‘Feel Discomfort’
An advisory group of Texas educators has proposed changing the word “slavery” to “involuntary relocation” after the Texas State Board of Education directed them to examine how to implement a new law, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, banning the teaching of topics that would make students “feel discomfort.”
The group, comprised of nine educators, made the proposal for second-grade social studies instruction, but “board members have asked them to reconsider the phrasing, according to the state board’s chair,” The Texas Tribune reports.
State Board of Education Member Aicha Davis told the Tribune, that calling slavery “involuntary relocation” is “not going to be acceptable.”
“Part of the proposed social studies curriculum standards outlines that students should ‘compare journeys to America, including voluntary Irish immigration and involuntary relocation of African people during colonial times,'” the Tribune notes.
Last year in September Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law SB3, which “prohibits teaching certain concepts about race,” The Dallas Morning News reported at the time.
It also “develops a civics training program for teachers,” and “urges educators to teach only that slavery and racism are ‘deviations’ from the founding principles of the United States.”
SB3 “establishes that teachers can’t be forced to discuss current controversial topics in their classrooms,” The Washington Post reported last year.
Attorney Imani Gandy, a Senior Editor of Law and Policy for Rewire News Group, responded to the news via Twitter.
“This was always the point of the CRT hysteria— to teach white children that slavery was just ‘involuntary relocation’ so they don’t feel bad about what their ancestors did to Black people in this country,” she said. “Classic fascist move.”
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