Public comments on President Biden's Title IX policy change hit record numbers as the feedback period closed Tuesday, indicating Americans find the administration's efforts to redefine sex as "unpopular" and "controversial".
The Office of the Federal Register, which lists the total number of comments made on a certain regulation, logged 210,594 comments at the close of the day on Monday, Sept. 12.
The new policy would not only end protections for girls and women by allowing men who identify as women to use women's restrooms and locker rooms and to compete on women's sports teams, but it would also broaden the definition of sexual harassment to include discrimination protections to LGBTQ students.
Additionally, it would eliminate due process protections for students accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault and remove protections for religious institutions that adhere to a traditional beliefs on sexuality, gender, and marriage.
"With its new Title IX rule, the Biden administration is pursuing a radical agenda and proposing a change to our laws and to our educational system that will do irreversible and long-lasting harm to women, girls, the wrongly accused, our faith institutions, and freedom of speech," Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow with the Meese Center, wrote last month. "With such a transformative proposal under consideration, it's imperative that citizens take action to defeat it."
Candice Perkins, a former Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights and former Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Education, writes that public comments are important for potentially bringing the policy change before the courts.
The more, the better.
"Comments can come from anyone, anywhere, in or out of the U.S., and the more comments the greater the chance of tying up this travesty of a rule in litigation," she writes.
More than 200,000 people took action and commented on the proposal.
"Your rule changes will destroy girls' sports. It will no longer exist," one person wrote. "Your rule changes will subject girls to boys in their private spaces. Your rule changes will perpetuate the spread of confused children who claim to be another gender to fit in."
"As a concerned citizen, I strongly oppose the Department's proposed rule to redefine the definition of 'sex' in Title IX," another commented. "This proposed rule forces young girls to share intimate spaces with biological males. This proposed rule forces girls to give up their educational opportunities to males who perform better than they do. And this proposed rule tells girls that their objections and concerns with these policies will be silenced."
"I am also very concerned that this rule also may be used by the Department to further their political interests by promoting LGBT curriculum in public schools across the country," this commentator added. "As students are still recovering from the aftermath of the pandemic and are falling behind in basic academics, the last thing they should face in their schools is sexualized curriculum that serves a particular political agenda."
"America's girls deserve better," the comment continued. "I urge you to rescind this rule."
Comments like these are considered "record-breaking" despite reports that a number of comments disappeared.
According to the Daily Signal, Regulations.gov, which tracks all publicly submitted comments hit 349,000 last Tuesday, but by Wednesday morning it dropped to 184,009—a decrease of more than 160,000 comments.
Politico reported a "clerical error" was the reason behind the disparity in numbers. They explained the Department of Education found a clerical error with a "comment unrelated to the proposed regulation that boosted it by 200,000 comments."
"The Department of Education's claim that the error in the number of comments is due to a clerical error doesn't pass the smell test," Perry told the Daily Signal. "Far more likely is that they don't want the American people to know how unpopular this policy change is."
The Department of Education is permitted to redact certain comments, but the disappearance of so many comments is unusual.
"The jaw-dropping disparity in the Federal Register's number of total comments received on the proposed Title IX rule from one day to the next, without explanation or disclaimer, should raise alarm bells for American parents whose children at federally funded schools will receive the direct impact of any finalized rule," Perry said.
"Whether the sudden loss of nearly 200,000 citizen comments stems from incompetence or obfuscation, the Department of Education has some explaining to do," she added.
When pressed to find out what happened to the missing comments, the Office of the Federal Register said it "does not collect, maintain, or track comments on documents that we publish on behalf of other agencies."