Betsy DeVos Meets Teen Wearing Trans Pride Flag During School Visit

The education secretary did not seem to acknowledge the ensemble.

A Michigan student didn’t miss an opportunity to make a statement when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited their school this week. 

Eighth-grader Torin Hodgman wore a transgender pride flag as a cape during DeVos’ Tuesday appearance at the Grand Rapids Public Museum School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

The 14-year-old Hodgman, who identifies as genderqueer and prefers the pronouns “they” and “their,” can be seen walking alongside DeVos in the above MLive video. DeVos interacted with students, who presented a series of science and environmental projects. She did not appear to acknowledge Hodgman’s ensemble. 

Hodgman said they had planned to ask DeVos about school safety for LGBTQ youths during a morning roundtable. While they didn’t get a chance to do that, Hodgman hopes she recognized the flag. 

“Public schools are a place for all children,” Hodgman told MLive. 

The student’s concerns are certainly justified. About a month into President Donald Trump’s tenure, the Department of Justice and Department of Education rescinded Obama-era guidance that schools should allow trans students to use bathrooms, locker rooms and other school facilities that align with their gender identity. 

In February the Education Department announced that it will no longer investigate complaints filed by students who say they were barred from using corresponding facilities.