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Education dept. to stop investigating trans restroom complaints

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The U.S. Department of Education confirmed Feb. 12 that it will no longer investigate civil rights complaints from transgender students who are barred from school bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Transgender students have said this development will subject them to bullying.

In 2016, then-President Barack Obama directed public schools to allow students to use bathrooms that align with their gender identity. However, shortly after President Donald Trump took office last year, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the guidance.

Several pro-LGBTQ groups criticized the move. "While civil rights advocates have suspected that the Department of Education was not acting on complaints brought forward by transgender students, reports that these violations are completely being ignored are reprehensible," said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement. "The department's failure to act conflicts with the law in multiple jurisdictions, including federal circuits, and further emboldens those who seek to discriminate against transgender students. Once again, Secretary DeVos proves she is not interested in protecting transgender students and instead is choosing to advance the dangerous Trump-Pence anti-LGBTQ agenda."

In a separate statement, PFLAG National Executive Director Dr. Jaime M. Grant, said, "Note to the Administration and the Department of Education: Title IX is still the law of the land, and even this abhorrent act cannot change the law. This is yet another assault on transgender people—this time vulnerable children—by the DOE. Their job is to ensure that all youth have access to education that is good, fair, and safe.

"Trans kids already face a list of significant impediments to getting that access, and now the DOE is adding themselves to the top of that list. We encourage all LGBTQ youth, and their families and allies to continue reporting complaints via our Claim Your Rights program."

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