School Law Alerts

Federal judge enjoins U.S. Department of Education’s final Title IX rule; Blocking new regulations from taking effect in Ohio

Posted by Daniel R. Shisler | Jun 20, 2024 | 0 Comments

On Monday, June 17, 2024, a federal judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky granted a preliminary injunction preventing the U.S. Department of Education from enforcing its final Title IX rule in Ohio and five other states.

The final rule, which was scheduled to take effect on August 1, includes provisions broadening the scope of Title IX's protections against discrimination on the basis of sex to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The lawsuit was initiated by the attorneys general of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, and West Virginia.

In its memorandum opinion and order issuing the injunction, the court states that, in its view, the Department of Education exceeded its rulemaking authority by redefining Title IX's definition of “sex” to include gender identity.  In addition, the court expressed concerns that the final rule would compel speech in violation of the First Amendment by forcing educators and school employees to use students' preferred pronouns.

This injunction follows a similar ruling issued by the Western District of Louisiana blocking the new Title IX rule in Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Idaho on June 13, 2024.  The new rule is now enjoined in 10 states, with 16 other states currently involved in other lawsuits.

The injunction comes as school districts were preparing for the new regulations to take effect by updating their policies and retraining staff.  These efforts are now placed in limbo.  School districts in affected states will likely need to continue implementing their policies and procedures consistent with current Title IX regulations introduced by the Department of Education in 2020.  It is unclear how long this issue could take to resolve – however, it is likely that the injunction will remain in force through the start of the 2024-2025 school year.

School districts should consult with their legal counsel to ensure all policies and practices are consistent with currently enforceable Title IX regulations and have a plan in place to implement policies tailored to the new regulations should the injunction be lifted.

About the Author

Daniel R. Shisler

Daniel Shisler's practice is devoted to advising boards of education on matters including board policy formation and compliance, general labor and employment/ personnel issues, employment discrimination, workers compensation, unemployment compensation, student/pupil personnel legal issues, residency issues, board policy, and ethics/conflict of interest issues. Daniel has experience representing boards of education in litigation in both state and federal courts regarding employment discrimination, employee discipline, termination and nonrenewal, statutory immunity issues, and student disciplinary appeals.


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