New Department of Education rules would make schools more dangerous, not less
As we head into the 2019 Texas legislative session, let’s remember something from 2017: Those lying creeps — like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, Rep. Scott Sanford and their ilk — used the word “safety” like a bludgeon in their campaign during the last session to keep transgender and gender-nonconforming kids from using the bathroom where they felt the most safe.
Their reasoning? “We need to keep women and kids safe!”
How do we know it’s bullshit? For one thing, an alt-right blogger flat out admitted that their “safety” claim was manufactured. But beyond that, the actions of the GOP tell us all we need to know.
In 2016, 1,809 women were murdered by men in single-victim or single-offender incidents according to statistics submitted to the FBI. Of those victims, 85 percent were murdered by a man they knew.
Texas accounted for 146 of those murders. Texas is among the most dangerous states when it comes to women being murdered by men.
But we heard not a peep from our lieutenant governor or the aforementioned legislators about this crisis. There was no wringing of their hands over how to protect women and children from men set on murdering them.
So maybe that’s a hint that the bathroom uproar wasn’t about keeping women and children safe, and a hint that the answer to keeping them safe won’t be found in the women’s restroom.
But this targeting of trans people and the lack of action on real concerns regarding the safety of women and children aren’t confined to Texas. Now we have the U.S. Department of Education getting in on the action. And if ever there was a federal agency that should be charged with keeping kids safe, this would be the one.
So how are they doing? Not so good.
In November 2018, the U.S. Department of Education proposed new regulations on how schools should address sexual assault complaints. These regulations are up for public comment right now, by the way. If these proposals are adopted, they would make it much harder — and thus, much more unlikely — that sexual assaults in and around schools would be reported.
Think I’m exaggerating? Consider this: If these new regulations had been in place earlier, serial abusers like Larry Nassar — the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor and an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University who is now a convicted serial child rapist — may have avoided justice because
Michigan State might not have been required to intervene due to reports being made to coaches and trainers instead of someone who is empowered to “institute corrective measures” like a Title IX coordinator.
Under this new rule, schools would not have an obligation to start the formal complaint process if abuse or assault claims are made to coaches or resident advisors even though, in many cases, a coach may be more trusted by the victims.
Why make it harder for victims to come forward? In what possible way does this new proposal make sense?
Perhaps a quote from our president, the pussy grabber himself, might shed some light:
“It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.”
Mr. President, you’ve got it wrong. It’s not young men who need to be protected; the victims of assault are the ones who need protection.
I’m all for due process, and if someone is innocent, they should be treated as such. But the guilty should pay, and the victims should NOT be the ones on trial!
Some 42 years after a 20-something white guy slammed his boot into my face because he thought I was gay, my jaw, having been so badly broken then, still doesn’t work right. This felony assault was reported to the police department in Huntington Beach, Calif. I had a description and a car license number. No arrest was ever made.
According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, almost half of all transgender people have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime, and one in 10 have been assaulted just in the last year. And when transgender people report sexual assaults to their school or other authorities, the report shows, they are often mistreated, not believed or even blamed for themselves for being assaulted simply because they are transgender.
The new regulations encourage — and in some cases even require — schools to ignore some reports of sexual assault and make it harder for survivors to get the safe resolution they need.
The regulations are supposed to enforce federal nondiscrimination protections for students, but instead they sabotagestheir very purpose: to ensure that sex discrimination, including sexual assault and harassment, never means the end of someone’s education.
These regulations threaten to turn back the clock to a time when it was even easier than it is now for schools to brush sexual assault under the rug. So please, log onto the government site (www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/11/29/2018-25314/nondiscrimination-on-the-basis-of-sex-in-education-programs-or-activities-receiving-federal) and voice your opinion. The comment period ends on Jan. 28.
In looking at the new proposal, it may appear that the DOE means well. After all, due process for all is part of the foundation of our democracy. But the Trump administration is attempting to put any student who is a victim of sexual assault in or around a school to the same scrutiny as Christine Blasey Ford faced during the Kavanaugh hearings.
One in four openly-transgender college students reports being harassed at school because they are transgender, and for many, the mistreatment is so bad that they are forced out of school.
School is already dangerous enough for kids who are transgender or gender nonconforming. Let’s please not make those 1,000-or-so hours kids spend at school each year more difficult than they already are for those who are most vulnerable.
According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, three out of four incidents of sexual assault go unreported. The Department of Education should be making it easier for survivors to come forward, not harder.
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.