Brumley issued a letter this week regarding a proposal from the Biden administration to expand Title IX rules to cover sexual orientation and gender identity that is currently in the public comment phase.
The proposed rules stem from Biden’s executive order titled “Guaranteeing an Education Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.”
“(The Louisiana Department of Education) does not agree with the proposed changes nor do we recognize the USDOE’s or the USDA’s guidance documents as binding or enforceable at this time,” the letter continued. “Therefore, school systems should not alter their local policies or procedures based solely on these overreaching guidance documents.”
Biden’s executive order directed the USDOE to conduct a comprehensive review of Title IX regulations, a process that began in March 2021.
This July, USDOE published proposed changes in the Federal Registrar that stipulate, among other things, that schools that receive federal funding “must not carry out any otherwise permissible different treatment or separation on the basis of sex in a way that would cause more than de minimis harm, including by adopting a policy or engaging in a practice that prevents a person from participating in an education program or activity consistent with their gender identity.”
If the proposal is approved as is, schools that do not comply could potentially have federal funding withheld, including funds for the federal school breakfast and lunch programs. That’s significant in Louisiana, a state that collected $284 million for those programs in 2019-20 to feed 70% of students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
The superintendent reminded schools in his letter this week that Louisiana law prohibits schools from allowing boys to play sports on girls’ teams.
“In Louisiana, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act became law on August 1, 2022,” Brumley wrote. “It was overwhelmingly passed by our legislature. It affirms school-sanctioned athletic participation must be divided by biological sex unless the configuration is co-ed in nature.”
Louisiana is among 20 states suing the Biden administration over the proposed rules, which Attorney General Jeff Landry told Campus Reform infringe on state rights to “redefine sex.”
In late July, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Atchley in Tennessee granted a preliminary injunction in the case that prohibits the federal government from implementing the proposed rules while the case is pending.