Politicians, principals, teachers, and parents have to work together to create schools that are inclusive and safe for all students, and protects their civil rights.
The Department of Education is failing to make this commitment.
The NY Times recently reported that an official memo released by the Department of Education’s revealed that the department is cutting back on the number of civil rights investigations, specifically around cases that involve “system issues and whole classes of victims.” This memo was released just days after the department closed a pending case involving a transgender student being harassed and denied rights by her peers and staff members at her school.
Betsy DeVos stumbled in hearings earlier this month when questioned about her commitment to protecting the rights of all students, by messaging that states involved in federal programs (and receiving federal funds) must follow federal laws, but refusing to affirm that the Department of Education will protect students where the federal laws are less concrete. Those statements are extremely unsettling, since the loose interpretation of the law and how it is implemented, diminishes the protections afforded to students within school buildings.
Scaling back civil rights investigations will further perpetuate a lack of accountability in schools (both public and private), and allow the rights and dignity of systemically marginalized students to continue to be violated.
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