The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) sent a letter to K-12 schools Thursday telling the schools to disregard the Biden administration’s proposed revisions to Title IX which prohibit discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
Both the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) threatened to withhold funds to federal institutions if they fail to adhere to the new revisions to Title IX proposed in June. Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz encouraged private and public schools to disregard the revisions, saying they are “guidance” and do not have the “force the law,” according to the FDOE letter.
“You should not treat the DOE and USDA guidance documents as binding or otherwise modify your practices or procedures based on these documents,” Diaz wrote in the letter. “Specifically, for example, nothing in these guidance documents requires you to give biological males who identify as female access to the female bathrooms, locker rooms, or dorms; to assign biological males who identify as female to female rooms on school field trips; or to allow biological males who identify as female to compete on female sports teams.”
The proposed changes by the DOE to Title IX in June could restrict federal funds from any institution that discriminates by “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The revisions require every sex-separated space, including bathrooms and locker rooms in schools, to accommodate transgender individuals.
“The Department will not stand idly by as federal agencies attempt to impose a sexual ideology on Florida schools that risk the health, safety and welfare of Florida students,” Diaz wrote.
“The governor’s office fully supports the Florida Department of Education in its position on these proposed rule changes and stands with Commissioner Diaz in refusing to allow the federal government and the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture to hold vulnerable students hostage to their political agenda,” Bryan Griffin Deputy Press Secretary for the Florida governor’s office told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Judge Charles Atchley for the Eastern District of Tennessee blocked the Title IX revisions on July 15 after a lawsuit was brought forward by 20 Republican attorneys general. The attorneys general argued that their state’s policies and laws keep them from following the Title IX revisions.
Additionally, 22 Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit on July 27 against the USDA for its guidance that revokes funds from the National School Lunch Program if schools disregard the Title IX revisions.
“The statement from the Florida Commissioner is an ’emperor has no clothes’ moment for the federal Department of Education,” Edward Bartlet, president of SAVE, a policy reform organization that works to “ensure fairness and due process” in education, told the DCNF. “For years, the DOE has issued a series of guidance documents that lacked a valid legal basis, but have had a transformative effect on schools and universities. Now, that ploy has been revealed to be unlawful.”
Florida DOE, DOE and USDA did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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