The US Department of Education will say Wednesday it’s their view that a Supreme Court ruling last year that barred workplace discrimination against gay and transgender employees extends to students in federally funded schools, a report said.
The department plans to say that discrimination against gay and transgender students is barred by Title IX, a decades-old law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools funded by the US, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told the New York Times.
The interpretation of the ruling is in stark contrast to the Education Department under President Donald Trump, which threatened to withhold funds from federally funded schools that allowed transgender students to play on sports teams.
But it’s unclear what impact the new interpretation of the ruling will have on bills brought by Republicans in a number of states seeking to bar transgender girls from playing on sports teams, Cardona told the Times.
“This is really clarity around how we interpret it,” he told the newspaper, adding that the new interpretation is the Biden administration “setting down a marker” that discrimination won’t be accepted in federally funded schools.
Allegations of discrimination will continue to be investigated in the same way, Cardona added to the Times.
“The reality is each case has to be investigated individually,” he said.
An expert on the subject, R. Shep Melnick, added that it likely won’t influence how states govern their schools, including in states that bar transgender kids from playing sports.
“Some schools, especially in the states where there is legislation, will simply ignore what the federal government says,” Melnick, a politics professor at Boston College, told the Times.
“And then it becomes a question of whether the federal government wants to take enforcement action, which I think they may be somewhat reluctant to do,” he added.
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