Civil Rights Commission Launches Investigation into Trump Admin.

Trump administration narrows civil rights investigations

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement, "Given the mass deportation efforts undertaken by President Trump since taking office, it is tragic, but not unexpected, that the administration would rescind the DAPA program".

The guidance calls on OCR investigators to look into situations in which schools failed to protect transgender students who face sex discrimination, harassment, or disparate treatment based on sex stereotyping.

"If a child cannot use the right bathroom at school, they simply cannot go to school, they cannot be a student", said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The memo said officials should continue to investigate complaints about bullying and harassment.

A White House spokesperson made a general assertion President Trump supports LGBT rights when asked if he supports the new Department of Education memo. Education officials said they wanted to emphasize that transgender students may still have valid discrimination complaints despite the rescission of that guidance.

The investigation is launched as left-leaning ProPublica released an internal memo - sent by Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson - it says it "obtained" that suggests "the Department of Education has laid out plans to loosen requirements on investigations into civil rights complaints".

"The Trump administration's decision to revoke the guidance on Title IX and transgender students was a shameful move", Esseks said. For Title IX, a series of courts have determined the law assures transgender students have access to the school restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network, issued a statement expressing the same concern.

The commission - an independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the president and Congress on matters of civil rights - voted on Friday to conduct a two-year investigation of federal civil rights enforcement, saying it had "grave concerns" about the Trump administration's agenda.

As the Education Department charts a new course on transgender students' complaints, it is also seeking to scale back enforcement in other areas.

"Along with changing programmatic priorities, these proposed cuts would result in a unsafe reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country, leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination", the commission wrote in a statement announcing the investigation.

Under the Obama administration, the civil rights office sought to determine whether any one student's complaint about those issues was symptomatic of a broader problem, in part by examining at least three years of past complaint data.

Elizabeth Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said the change in approach is meant to confront the agency's infamous complaint backlog and ensure that investigations are resolved more quickly. For example, she said her office responded to two students who complained that Michigan State University hadn't properly responded to sexual assault allegations.

But critics say the new policies weaken the protections of the people who turn to the office for relief.

"We applaud the Commission's decision to investigate the Trump administration's systematic, across-the-board rollback on civil and human rights".

"It's really a way of curtailing the way civil rights enforcement should be handled", Catherine Lhamon, head of the United States Commission on Civil Rights and former chair of the Education Department's civil rights office, told the Times, adding that the administration's proposals are "stunning" and "dangerous". Protecting those rights is a core function of the federal government and the American people deserve to know whether their government is fulfilling its obligations. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

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