US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was put on the spot today about protecting LGBTI students in school.
She tried to dodge the question.
During a hearing in the US Senate, DeVos underwent strong questioning from Senator Jeff Merkley during a budget hearing on whether schools that receive funding from the federal government would be punished if they allowed discrimination against LGBTIO students to occur.
‘Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law,’ said DeVos whose department along with the Department of Justice earlier this year rescinded federal guidelines designed to protect transgender students.
‘On areas where law is unsettled, this department is not going to be issuing decrees. That is a matter for the congress and the courts,’ DeVos told Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon.
Fed up, the subcommittee member within the US Senate Committee on Appropriations asked more directly: ‘Is discrimination going to be allowed or not allowed? Are you refusing to answer the question?’
After DeVos again repeated her earlier answer Merkley made this statement: ‘You are refusing to answer the question. I think that’s very important for the public to know that today, the Secretary of Education before this committee refused to affirm that she would put forward a program that would ban discrimination based on LGBTQ status of students.’
DeVos shot back: ‘Sir, that’s not what I said. Discrimination in any form is wrong I don’t support discrimination in ahy form.’
Then after that answer, she again dodged a direct question about LGBTI discrimination.
‘By once again turning a blind eye to LGBTQ students who experience discrimination in school, Secretary DeVos continues to prove why she was the wrong choice to lead our nation’s education system,’ GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement after the hearing. ‘DeVos once claimed she was an LGBTQ ally, but has now supported back to back policies that would erase LGBTQ students from classrooms. If she wants to be known as more than an anti-LGBTQ activist the time is now to reverse course.’