Education Secretary and woman-of-the-people Betsy Devos appeared before the House Education and Labor Committee this week to testify about her widely-criticized moves to reverse course on Obama-era affirmative action and trans-inclusive guidelines.
In an uncharacteristic moment of transparency, DeVos conceded to knowing the potential her policy-making — or un-making, as it were — could have in endangering the lives of transgender youth.
The exchange came thanks to Civil Rights Subcommittee Chairwoman Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, a Democrat, who pressed DeVos’ feet to the coals on the issue.
“When you rolled back [the trans-inclusive] guidance did you know that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression and anxiety for transgender students?,” Bonamici asked. “Did you know that?”
DeVos launched into one of her all too familiar dodges, reciting a canned line about the Office of Civil Rights’ steadfast commitment to all students.
Bonamici pressed harder.
“I would really like an answer,” she said. “Students and families need to know this. We had a mother of a transgender student here yesterday. We need to know this. Did you know when you rolled back the guidance that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance and grades as well as depression for transgender students? Did you know that when you rolled back the guidance?”
“I do know that,” replied DeVos.
.@RepBonamici to Sec. DeVos: When you rolled back guidance protecting rights of transgender students, did you know that the stress of harassment and discrimination can lead to lower attendance/grades as well as depression for transgender students?
Sec. DeVos: I do know that… pic.twitter.com/KhzISXJayf
— Committee on Education & Labor (@EdLaborCmte) April 10, 2019
Last month, DeVos refused to say that schools shouldn’t discriminate against queer students and parents.
Dan Tracer is a queer writer, noisemaker, and amateur astral projector. Find him on Instagram.