Any student must be allowed into any space they identify with or schools will risk the loss of federal funding. That's what both public and private schools are now facing under the Biden administration's new interpretation of Title IX.
Some states are pushing back on the new proposed rules for schools regarding students who identify as transgender. Yesterday, more than 20 attorneys general sued the administration over a policy that could affect school meal programs.
The Biden administration wants all schools that receive federal help to provide open access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports, based on students' self-perceived gender identity. But that desire is hitting some legal roadblocks.
Attorney Mary Rice Hasson with the Ethics & Public Policy Center told CBN News, "There's really no compromise. Sex is either male or female or, as the Biden administration puts forward, the idea of sex can be overridden by gender identity and gender identity is simply your self-perception."
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Hasson has followed the administration's new interpretation of Title IX, a decision that flips the traditional understanding of sex-segregated spaces. That change forces both public and private schools that rely on federal funding to comply.
Hasson says, "It's a confusing time for educators, anyone who receives federal money."
The financial pipeline is worth millions, even billions to some states. Tennessee for example, receives $1.5 billion a year for K-12 schools, and its universities receive $88 million.
It's why the state's attorney general has led 19 other states to fight the Education Department over its 2021 re-interpretation of Title IX.
They argue the Biden administration wrongly expanded the 2020 Supreme Court Bostock decision. That ruling stated that under federal employment law, sex discrimination includes gender identity and sexual orientation. Later, the Biden administration expanded Bostock's reach to include Title IX, and education.
In early July, Tennessee and the 19 other states got a reprieve when a federal judge put a temporary hold on the Biden administration's re-interpretation.
Attorney Christiana Kiefer with Alliance Defending Freedom says, "The federal court made really clear that the Biden administration had taken Bostock too far."
Kiefer has defended female track athletes in Connecticut who were forced to compete against boys. In September, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in that case.
For now, the states that sued the Biden administration can protect women's locker rooms, bathrooms, and sports teams. The other 30 states must allow any student in any space or risk the loss of federal funds.
"It's not a good place to be," Hasson says. "It's very troubling for parents, it's troubling for schools, even private schools that use federal dollars in some way."
The public comment period ends on September 12th.