On June 16, 2021, the United States Department of Education issued a Notice of Interpretation (NOI) stating that it will enforce Title IX's prohibitions against discrimination in education on the basis of sex to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.
The U.S. Department of Education adopted the interpretation set forth in the recent Bostock v. Clayton County decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court extended the sex-based discrimination prohibitions of Title VII to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While the Bostock ruling dealt with discrimination in the workplace setting, the U.S. Department of Education explains in the NOI that, due to similarities in text and purpose of Titles VII and IX, the Department will apply the Bostock standard to the education setting through Title IX.
This NOI is consistent with President Biden's recent executive orders on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity and on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. With this announcement, the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will begin enforcing Title IX to include protections prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and individuals may file complaints with OCR if they feel they have been discriminated on either basis.
PKM attorneys continue to monitor these developments and are available to answer any questions on how this news may affect your district.