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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 26, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 21
Betsy DeVos OKs anti-LGBT discrimination by schools
Section One
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Betsy DeVos OKs anti-LGBT discrimination by schools

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Trump's Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, said she would allow schools receiving federal funds to discriminate against LGBT students if parents wanted such discrimination and state rules authorized it.

DeVos made the statement at a May 24 House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, where she was seeking $250 million more for vouchers going to private schools.

Democratic Rep. Katherine Clark asked DeVos about Lighthouse Christian Academy, a private school in Indiana that receives state voucher money but denies admission to students from families where there is 'homosexual or bisexual activity' or someone 'practicing alternate gender identity.'

Would she authorize federal funds for such a school, Clark asked the Secretary. DeVos replied by saying she supports giving flexibility to states.

'For states who have programs that allow for parents to make choices, they set up the rules around that,' she said.

'You would put the state flexibility over our students?' Clark replied.

'The Office of Civil Rights and our Title IX protections are broadly applicable across the board,' DeVos said. 'But when it comes to parents making choices on behalf of their students...'

'This isn't about parents making choices. This is about use of federal dollars,' Clark interrupted. 'You would put the state flexibility over our students.' ... 'I think a hypothetical...' DeVos said. ... 'It's not a hypothetical,' Clark snapped. 'It's a real school.' ... The subcommittee chair then intervened, telling Clark her time for questions had expired. ... 'The bottom line is we believe that parents are the best equipped to make choices for their children's schooling and education decisions,' DeVos concluded. 'States and local communities are best equipped to make these decisions and framework.' ... Clark managed to get in a parting comment. ... 'I am shocked that you cannot come up with one example of discrimination that you would stand up for students,' she said. ... At DeVos's confirmation hearing in January, it was revealed that she was vice president of the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, a nonprofit founded by her mother. The foundation made substantial donations to anti-LGBT groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. ... DeVos dismissed the information as 'a clerical error.'

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