Education Secretary Betsy DeVos defended the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind guidelines which told schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that align with their gender identities.
During an on-stage interview at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C., the recently confirmed secretary argued that the guidelines were an example of Obama Administration overstepping its legal authority.
“Let me just say this issue was a very huge example of the Obama Administration’s overreach to suggest a one-size fits all federal government approach, top down approach to issues that are best dealt with and solved at a personal level, at a local level,” she said.
DeVos’ statement on the guidelines, which were issued by the Obama Justice and Education Departments, came amid reports that she initially resisted the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back the protections for transgender students.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that DeVos was concerned about the level of harm that transgender students could face without the instructions in place. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump reportedly pushed DeVos to get on board. White House spokesman Sean Spicer pushed back on that story, saying there is “no daylight” between the President and his Cabinet.
In a statement released along with the new guidance on Wednesday, DeVos said that the Department has a responsibility to protect students from discrimination, bullying, and harassment but the decision related to transgender students should be left up to the states.
“Schools, communities, and families can find – and in many cases have found – solutions that protect all students,” DeVos said, reiterating what she said on Twitter after the decision.