Louisiana education chief tells schools to ignore new Title IX rules for transgender students

Louisiana education chief tells schools to ignore new Title IX rules for transgender students

Louisiana’s top education official on Monday instructed schools to ignore new Title IX rules unveiled by the Biden administration, warning that extending the civil rights law’s protections to transgender students may violate existing state and federal law.

The Education Department last week issued a final set of sweeping changes to Title IX — which prohibits sex-based discrimination at federally funded schools — including an expanded definition of sex discrimination that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new rules, which are set to take effect Aug. 1, drew immediate criticism from Republicans, who slammed the proposal’s transgender student protections as an attack on women’s rights.

In a letter sent Monday to school system leaders and board members, Cade Brumley, Louisiana’s superintendent of education, said the new Title IX rules likely conflict with Louisiana law, and schools “should not alter policies or procedures at this time.”

The new regulations appear to be “in direct contradiction” with a 2022 state law that bars transgender student-athletes from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity, Brumley wrote in the letter, a copy of which was shared with The Hill.

The Biden administration has yet to finalize a separate rule that would prohibit schools from adopting policies that categorically ban transgender athletes from competing in accordance with their gender identity, but Brumley said he still expects the administration to use the rules finalized this month to block states from enforcing trans athlete bans.

“You can rest assured that they have the full intent of this applying completely to athletics moving forward,” Brumley said on a phone call from his office in Baton Rouge.

Including Louisiana, 24 states have passed laws preventing transgender student-athletes from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

Brumley added that the new regulations may infringe on individuals’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to use a transgender person’s name and pronouns. A bill advanced by the Louisiana House this month would prevent schools from requiring staff to use transgender students’ names or pronouns without written consent from their parents.

Another proposal would bar transgender students from using school restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity. A senior Biden administration official said such laws could violate the new Title IX rules if they create a hostile environment for students.

The Education Department did not immediately return a request for comment on Brumley’s letter.

Brumley in Monday’s letter said schools should not update their Title IX policies because the new rules will inevitably end up in court. Conservative organizations, including the Christian legal powerhouse Alliance Defending Freedom, have already threatened to sue the Biden administration over the changes.

The state of Louisiana is also “exploring options” to challenge the law, Brumley said. The new rules are still being reviewed by the Louisiana Department of Education, the governor’s office and the state attorney general.

“All options are on the table,” Brumley said.

Republican state leaders have coalesced around efforts to halt the Biden administration’s changes to Title IX since the proposed updates were introduced in 2022. That year, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. similarly instructed local education officials to ignore the rules.

In May, a group of 25 Republican governors denounced the administration’s proposal as “a blatant overreach.”

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