Education Department looks to the future as Title IX turns 50

June 23, 2022

Thursday marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools or education programs, and the U.S. Department of Education has released a list of proposed changes to help ensure protection for students who are victims of sexual harassment, assault and sex-based discrimination, including those based on gender identify and sexual orientation. 

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said, “As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this landmark law, our proposed changes will allow us to continue that progress and ensure all our nation’s students – no matter where they live, who they are, or whom they love – can learn, grow, and thrive in school.” 

The proposed amendment to the Title IX regulations would clarify protections against sex discrimination including sex based stereotypes and pregnancy. It would also strengthen protection for parents and guardians to act on behalf of a student exercising their Title IX rights. 

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The regulations would additionally update protections for pregnant students or employees including requiring schools to “provide reasonable modifications for pregnant students, reasonable break time for pregnant employees, and lactation space.”

The Department of Education said the proposed amendment promotes accountability to fulfill Title IX’s mandate by requiring  schools to “act promptly and effectively in response to information and complaints about sex discrimination in their education programs or activities.” The amendment would further require that schools train their employees to properly respond to allegations of sex discrimination.

The regulation would ensure protection from retaliation against students and employees who have brought complaints or have been accused of sex discrimination as well as ensure protection from any retaliation against students and employees exercising their Title IX rights, the department said.

“Schools must not intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against someone because they provided information about or made a complaint of sex discrimination or because they participated in the school’s Title IX process,” a department statement said.

The proposed regulations also includes that Title IX’s protections against sex discrimination applies to members of the LGBTQ+ community who experience discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

Finally, the amendments to Title IX would include requirements to ensure all schools communicate their nondiscrimination policies clearly and effectively to all students, employees and all other participants of the education program. 

There will be a separate rulemaking to address how the changes  would be applied to athletics. 

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Catherine E.  Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights said, “The proposed regulations reflect the Department’s commitment to give full effect to Title IX, ensuring that no person experiences sex discrimination in education, and that school procedures for addressing complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual violence and other forms of sex-based harassment, are clear, effective, and fair to all involved.”

Editor in Chief Sophie Whitten can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @sophiewhitten_.

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