September 19, 2021

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Let’s Talk about Title IX

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What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any federally funded education program or activity. In other words, schools that receive federal funds are legally required to protect students against sex discrimination. Experiencing sex discrimination in any form can derail a student’s opportunity to learn, participate, and thrive in and outside of the classroom. Sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, is a threat to equal access to educational environments for students of all ages.

Why are we talking about it?

President Biden’s 2021 Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity requires ED to review and reconsider all Title IX regulations, including amendments made in 2020. ED is also required to issue new guidance and regulations as needed.

“Sexual harassment and all other forms of sex discrimination, including in extracurricular activities and other educational settings, threaten access to education for students of all ages. As Secretary, I will work to ensure all students—no matter their background, who they are, or how they identify—can succeed in the classroom and beyond. No matter the educational setting, students should feel safe and be able to focus on learning.” – Secretary Miguel Cardona

How will ED support the executive order? 

ED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is taking action. As part of its comprehensive review of ED’s Title IX regulations, OCR will:

  • Host an upcoming public hearing (dates TBD) and invite those interested in sharing their views on the issue of sexual harassment at schools.
  • Issue a Q&A document to clarify how OCR interprets schools’ existing obligations under the 2020 amendments to the Title IX regulations.
  • Post a notice of proposed rulemaking, which gives the public an opportunity to submit feedback.

No matter the educational setting, students should feel safe and be able to focus on learning. Let’s break down how OCR’s review of Title IX ensures that:

  • OCR’s comprehensive review of ED’s Title IX regulations includes gathering feedback.
  • This feedback will help OCR to determine whether changes need to be made to ED’s Title IX regulations (and any related agency actions) to fulfill President Biden’s commitment to guaranteeing educational environments that are free from sex discrimination, including based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • This feedback will also help OCR fulfill the Department’s commitment to ensuring equal and nondiscriminatory access to education for students at all educational levels. In implementing the EO, OCR is also focused on ensuring that students who have experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity have their legal rights fully met.

Where to find more information about the upcoming public hearing:

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