The Law Offices of Steve Rossi, P.A. | Statewide Representation

Florida’s fights recent federal Title IX changes

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Education Law

Title IX is a landmark 1972 law that bars discrimination in education programs based on sex. Passed on June 23, 1972, it was a brief 37-word paragraph signed by President Nixon that stated that the federal government would withhold funding to public colleges and schools that discriminated against girls or women who pursued academic opportunities or played sports. At the time, 8% of women had a college degree, and 59% graduated high school.

We now have the Title IX era in women’s sports with such national successes as the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and the rise of women’s basketball at the college and professional level. Women finish college at a higher rate than men, and many have gone into professions previously dominated by men.

The Biden administration recently introduced a rule that extends Title IX protections to include discrimination based on gender identity. This move has sparked a wave of controversy, particularly in states like Florida. Our state has been at the forefront of a contentious debate surrounding changes to federal Title IX regulations.

Florida’s Response to the Changes

Florida, along with Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, has filed a federal lawsuit in 2024 challenging the new Biden administration rule. The lawsuits allege that the Biden administration has exceeded its legal authority in extending the regulations to apply to discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has also joined the debate, revising its bylaws to replace all mentions of “gender” with the word “sex.” The State Board of Education approved these changes, marking a significant shift in the state’s stance on Title IX.

The implications of Florida’s recent actions

The actions taken by Florida could have far-reaching implications. It has already led some school libraries to remove books that likely violate Florida’s new laws. The lawsuit contends that the rule, if carried out, could affect issues such as which bathrooms transgender students can use in schools. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has stated that the rule is a “radical departure from what Title IX was originally meant to do.”

On the other hand, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has argued that the new regulations “fully effectuate Title IX’s promise that no person experiences sex discrimination in federally funded education.”

The debate is far from over

The debate over Title IX changes is far from over. As Florida and other states continue to challenge the new regulations, the future of Title IX and its impact on students across the country remains uncertain. It is clear, however, that this issue will continue to be a significant point of contention in the ongoing discussion about civil rights and education in Florida and the United States.