The U.S. Department of Education is assessing whether a school’s transgender bathroom policy contributed to the sexual assault of a five-year-old girl. As Politico reports, Oakhurst Elementary School in Decatur, Georgia, allowed students who identified as transgender to use either male or female bathrooms.
The department’s investigation could indicate that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is seriously examining whether school transgender policies are enforcing or endangering student safety.
The investigation stems from a complaint that alleges a girl was assaulted at the Georgia school by another student who was classified “gender fluid.” The evangelical Christian legal assistance group Alliance Defending Freedom has actively participated in the complaint and is a staunch critic of transgender policies that advance the belief that gender is not something people are born with but personally identify with.
The education department agreed to an investigation on Sept. 14 that would determine if the school’s transgender policy resulted in the “creation of a hostile environment for the student and other girls.”
Education department spokesman Nate Bailey told Politico the investigation was ongoing: “We do not comment on pending investigations — but to be clear, the investigation focuses on the school’s response to a report of sexual assault and the examination of any and all factors that may have contributed to a hostile environment.”