ELC Statement in Response to the Trump Administration’s Withdrawal of Title IX Guidance
Feb. 22, 2017
The Education Law Center released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s withdrawal of federal Title IX guidance:
The Trump Administration’s withdrawal of 2016 guidance from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice that affirmed Title IX’s protection of transgender students is a disappointing step backward and a cruel refusal to recognize the rights of all students to equal education opportunities and dignity in school. However, while the 2016 guidance served as a helpful guide to schools, the civil rights protection remains in the Title IX statute itself and courts have affirmed the rights of transgender people under Title IX’s broad prohibition against discrimination based on sex and sex stereotyping.
Today’s announcement by the Trump Administration sends the wrong signal to transgender students that they do not enjoy the same protections against discrimination as other students. But federal civil rights laws like Title IX are not a ‘states’ issue – transgender students have the same right to safety and dignity no matter what state they live in.
When school policies ostracize and stigmatize transgender students instead of expressly affirming their rights, there is an increased potential for bullying or harassment by peers and staff. A survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 77% of transgender youth had experienced harassment, physical or sexual violence or discrimination at school. Transgender students who are forced to endure hostile school environments are more likely to have missed school out of concern for their safety, hold lower GPAs, and are less likely to pursue post-secondary education. Black transgender youth often face even greater hostility.
While we are disappointed in the failure of the Trump Administration to affirm Title IX’s protections, ELC continues to stand with our transgender students and encourages all schools to join the growing number of districts in Pennsylvania that have enacted clear policies against discrimination based on gender identity.
The Education Law Center-PA (“ELC”) is a non-profit, legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all children in Pennsylvania have access to a quality public education. Through legal representation, impact litigation, trainings, and policy advocacy, ELC advances the rights of vulnerable children, including children living in poverty, children of color, children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, children with disabilities, English language learners, LGBTQ students, and children experiencing homelessness. For more information visit http://www.elc-pa.org/ or follow on Twitter @edlawcenterpa.