The Biden administration is hoping to expand Title IX’s protections against gender-based discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – a historic interest. potential for LGBTQ students as both education and gender roles take a prominent place in the U.S. culture at war and countries pursue a series of laws aimed at restricting LGBTQ rights.
“Our goal is to get the most out of the law and deliver on our promise to protect all students from harassment and discrimination based on gender,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said on the call. with reporters on Thursday to outline the administration’s measures proposed new Title IX rule set.
“Our proposed changes will fully protect students from all forms of gender discrimination,” he said. “Rather than limiting certain protections to sexual harassment, it should be made clear that such protections include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Much of the decision to extend Title IX protections to cover up discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity stems from a 2020 Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia , under which an employer cannot fire an employee for being gay or transgender. In March 2021, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division issued an interpretation of the ruling, extending it to schools.
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“We sought to align our Title IX regulations with the Supreme Court decision in Bostock County v. Clayton, which held that a person cannot be discriminated against because of sexual orientation or identity. gender without discriminating against that individual on the basis of sex,” Cardona said. “The Department of Education is responsible for ensuring that all of our students can learn, grow and thrive in schools no matter where they live, who they are, who they love or how they define themselves. any.”
The proposed rules come at a time when LGBTQ students report poor mental health, emotional abuse by a parent or caregiver, and alarming suicide attempts. Follow Project Trevor’s In the 2022 national survey of LGBTQ youth mental health, 45% had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year and 60% of those who wanted and sought mental health support were unable to. achieve that.
“Together, we must seize this opportunity to better protect LGBTQ youth, who face bullying and harassment, experience high rates of anxiety, depression and suicide,” Cardona said. taller and often grow up feeling like they don’t belong.” “Today we send a big message to these students and all of our students – you belong to our school, you have worthy dreams and incredible talent, you deserves a chance to shine honestly and without error.”
Among other things, the proposed rules would also expand the definition of sexual harassment, require schools to investigate complaints that occur off campus and not require an investigation to include a face-to-face hearings – although they still can. The proposed rules would also emphasize that schools must protect students and staff who are pregnant or have pregnancy-related conditions and – in upholding the DeVos-era rule – ensure no disciplinary action against the accuser or the accused until the investigation is complete.
Notably, the Department of Education announced plans to go through a separate rule-making process to determine how schools decide eligibility for boys and girls sports teams – a decision Cardona said. know because standards are evolving in real time, alluding to the growing number of conservative states passing through law banning transgender girls and women competing in sports.
Ministry of Education begin the process of rewriting Title IX rules last summer, seeking input from students, teachers, athletes, parents, elected officials, higher education leaders, survivors of the attack. sex workers and those accused of sexual assault.
“From day one, we have prioritized community input,” said Cardona. “We listened to stakeholders about where the 2020 regulations went wrong and what they got right.”
The proposed rules take the Biden administration one step further to officially overturn Title IX rules formulated under former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, raise the bar of evidence for sexual assault and misconduct, freeing schools from investigating incidents that occur off campus, and strengthening the rights of those accused.
That rule, which goes against an Obama-era directive to pressure schools to lower proofing standards, has drawn outcry from Democrats, civil rights groups and others. work on campus assault issues, who say it will push students and schools back to a time when sexual assaults were routinely swept under the rug. The majority of the 124,000 public comments submitted when DeVos first proposed the Title IX rule opposed the measure, and upon its completion, it sparked dozens of lawsuits, including one a lawsuit involving 17 states and the District of Columbia.
Civil rights groups and organizations working to prevent sexual assault on campus have honored the proposed rules, which were originally supposed to be announced in April.
“This rule is a necessary step to reverse the harm of Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration’s weakening of protections against sexual harassment in schools, and a move to assert the rights of students. Pregnant and parenting students as well as LGBTQI+ students learn with safety and dignity,” Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Center for Women’s Law, said in a statement. “To deliver on Title IX’s promise to protect all students, we urge the Biden administration to move swiftly to affirm transgender students’ ability to participate fully in sports.”
The restoration of protections for victims of sexual assault and harassment on campus comes at a time when the most recent federal data from the Civil Rights Data Collection shows cases of sexual assault and harassment on campus. Sexual violence in public schools more than halved from the 2015-16 school year to the 2017-18 school year, and cases of rape or attempted rape nearly doubled.
Of course, the proposed regulations are not without their critics. Some criticize the removal of what they see as hard-won due process rights for students accused in the #MeToo era, and Republicans lament that the new rules have dragged lengthens Title IX protections beyond the original intent of the law.
“Expanding this legislation to include other designations such as sexual orientation and gender identity is beyond the intent of Congress,” said Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who was a senior member of the Committee. House Education and Labor Committee, said in a speech in the hall. fifth floor. “It also reduces protections for women and in some cases threatens their safety.”
Cardona dismissed those criticisms.
“I firmly reject attempts to politicize these protections and segregate sewing in our schools,” he said. “Everyone should agree that all students and all children and young people deserve an education based on equity, understanding, and belonging. This is personal for me as an educator and as a father. I want the same opportunities for my daughter, my son and my transgender cousin so they can reach their potential and achieve their dreams.”
The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed regulations before the Department of Education formalizes them.
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