Title IX: States line up to defy new K12 LGBTQ protections

Governors and education leaders of several states are ordering schools not to comply with Biden Administration Title IX update that outlaws harassment based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

No sooner did the Biden administration unveil new Title IX protections for LGBTQ+ students than governors and education leaders of several states ordered schools to defy the much-anticipated rule changes.

Starting on Aug. 1, LGBTQ+ students will be legally protected from harassment based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. The updated Title IX regulations released by the Department of Education last week offered no guidance about transgender and nonbinary students joining sports teams that align with their gender.

On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter directly to Biden claiming the updates are “illegal” and that he has ordered the Texas Education Agency to ignore the new rules. Title IX, Abbott wrote, recognizes only two genders and its purpose is to support the advancement of women academically and athletically.

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“You have rewritten Title IX to force schools to treat boys as if they were girls and to accept every student’s self-declared gender identity,” Abbott argued. “This ham-handed effort to impose a leftist belief onto Title IX exceeds your authority as president.”

Lousiana State Superintendent Cade Brumley told district leaders and school boards not to alter any of their policies despite the Biden Administration’s ruling. The new rule “alters the long-standing definition that has created fairness and equal access to opportunity for women and men,” Brumley wrote in a letter to Louisiana school system leaders. “The Title IX rule changes recklessly endanger students and seek to dismantle equal opportunities for females.”

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis posted a video to X saying, “We will not comply.”

Lousiana has joined with Texas and several other states in a lawsuit against the Title IX updates. State superintendents in Montana, Oklahoma and South Carolina also told districts not to comply or make any new policies to protect their LGBTQ communities.

South Carolina’s ACLU chapter blasted state Superintendent Ellen Weaver’s rejection of the Title IX update, calling it the latest move in state leaders’ “cruel” efforts to marginalize LGBTQ students and communities.

“In addition to encouraging districts to ignore federal regulations—and putting our underfunded schools at risk of losing critically needed dollars—her letter suggests transgender kids don’t exist and shouldn’t be protected from discrimination,” South Carolina ACLU Executive Director Jace Woodrum said in a statement.

“The rights of transgender and cisgender people are not a zero-sum game,” the organization added. “Trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people belong in South Carolina, and they deserve to be protected from discrimination, not vilified by politicians.”

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is the managing editor of District Administration and a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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