Of all the corrupt, lying, opportunistic officials infesting the Trump administration, few incite quite the level of uniform ire as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Concerned Americans see that the futures of our youngest citizens have been placed in the hands of an incompetent hack who doesn’t even believe in public education, having been a longtime advocate for charter schools at the expense of public ones.
If her lack of qualifications wasn’t enough to argue for her immediate dismissal, the undercurrent of bigotry pulsing beneath her policy decisions certainly is. In particular, DeVos has decided to target transgender students, one of the most marginalized groups most in need of additional protections.
She previously announced that going forward the Education Department would take no action to investigate complaints of transgender students being blocked from restrooms matching their professed gender identities, a regressive change from policy during the Obama years.
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It was a hateful decision to make schools less safe and inclusive for transgender students and accomplished nothing beyond pandering to the bigots who voted for Donald Trump. It’s the kind of cruel, nihilistic move that must be opposed by any compassionate citizen.
Yesterday, DeVos visited Grand Rapids Public Museum School in Michigan where she was met with an act of peaceful, yet powerful protest. Eighth-grader Torin Hodgman, age 14, wore a transgender flag as a cape to meet with DeVos. Hodgman identifies as gender queer and prefers the pronouns “they/them.”
Hodgman worries that the Department of Education under DeVos isn’t doing enough to make sure that schools feel like a safe environment for transgender children or children starting to question their gender identity.
“Public schools are a place for all children,” Hodgman said, according to Mlive.com
Video of the incident shows DeVos straining not to appear as uncomfortable as she clearly is. Hodgman is friendly and polite while still managing to project a brave, powerful image. If someone so young has the courage to stand up to Trump and his minions, the future of this country is brighter than it sometimes appears. We all need to take Hodgman’s example to heart and stand up for those the current administration is trying to oppress.