By Corinne Murdock |
Arizona Superintendent Tom Horne advised the K-12 community that Title IX doesn’t have any language forcing schools to obey gender ideology concerning policy on restroom, locker room, and shower facility usage.
The superintendent issued the remarks on Thursday in a brief guidance memo from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). Horne explained that the current Title IX law only prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity. The Biden administration proposed a rule change to Title IX in 2021 that would expand the longstanding 1972 definition to include gender identity and sexual orientation, followed by a formal proposal by the Education Department last year, but that rule change has not yet been put into effect.
“Under the current Title IX, there is no language that compels schools to permit biological boys to use girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms or shower areas,” stated Horne. “The Biden administration has proposed changes to Title IX that might allow for this, but this proposal has no force of law until it is ruled on by the courts, which has not occurred.”
The Biden administration announced it would publish the final Title IX rule in October.
ADE advised schools to not implement policy allowing gender identity to dictate restroom, locker room, or shower facility access, mainly referring to the ability for males to access traditionally female spaces. ADE warned that males could still be held accountable for impropriety, regardless of ideology.
“Biological boys who expose themselves to girls could be violating indecent exposure laws and subject to arrest,” said ADE. “Schools can provide separate facilities — even small ones that are open to either gender — that meet the needs of transgender students without compromising the dignity of others.”
Horne explained further that he’s received numerous complaints from parents about schools permitting biological males to use private facilities intended originally and exclusively for females. Upset parents have reportedly told Horne they may leave schools permissive of gender ideologies. Rather than dissuade this type of thinking, Horne encouraged parents to exercise their right of school choice, possible through the universalized Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program.
“[T]hey are considering removing their daughter from schools that allow this,” said Horne. “In Arizona, they certainly have multiple school options from which to choose.”
State Rep. Nancy Gutierrez (D-LD18), minority whip, said the guidance was “dangerous” and violates federal law.
In June, the Ninth District Circuit Court ruled that discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation qualifies as sex-based discrimination under Title IX.
Title IX affects more than just bathroom, locker room, and shower area usage. It also applies to sports, something which progressive activists are also fighting to reform. Two families sued the state over its law banning biological boys from competing in girls’ sports.
Horne took up the case.
Despite the legal battles over Title IX not yet settled, Arizona’s K-12 public school boards have been taking initiative by adopting policy that would align with the expanded Biden administration version of Title IX. Last September, for example, one of the state’s top charter school chains, Legacy Traditional Schools, permitted gender identity to dictate bathroom usage.