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U.S. Department of Education Title IX and Sex Discrimination

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Iberkis Faltas
July 11, 2019

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

What do you see?

In 2019, gender discrimination seems to be as challenging as it was during the Paleolithic era. Thus, perception has a superlative influence in the mind of a person. It seems preposterous that in the heart of the 21st century, schools in the United States still have to be concerned about issues related to gender discrimination in children’s classrooms. It is interesting to see how humankind has learned how to put a person on the moon, build an atomic bomb, produce genetically identical organisms and even to learn how to differentiate one human from three billion-others just by reading the information stored in one’s DNA. Yet, we have not learned how to keep sexism, prejudice, stereotyping, preconceptions, predisposition and even intolerance against a child’s gender identity and sexual orientation away from our society.

A good thing is that the United States Department of Education and our school system is doing as much as they can to protect our children for such discriminatory practices. Still, regardless of implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), and the fight that many organizations have dedicated to terminate gender equity, the system needs a great deal of implementation and enforcement.

Gender identity is more profound than what we see in the exterior of a person. It is much more than sex identification. Gender identity is one’s personal consciousness, one’s personal awareness of who we are as a person. Gender identity influences everything one does and the way we see the world around us. Gender Identity is cognitively attached to one’s goal, life’s plan, social interactions, workplace success, academic success, happiness and everything one accomplishes.

While sexual orientation is the inherent cognitive attraction one has toward other people, gender identity is, “One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.” One’s gender identity can be the same, or it can be different from one’s sex assigned at birth.

What we need to know?

Under Title IX, regulations are intended to protect school environments from sexual harassment, assist and protect victims of sexual harassment, and ensure that due process protections are in place for individuals accused of sexual harassment. These regulations were created to empower students and to protect them from violations against their gender identity, as well as to hold schools accountable for failure to meet their obligation to protect such students. It is the responsibility of the school to teach its students how to respond and how to react to situations where the student will be challenged due to gender identification. Schools are to implement, promote and enforce supportive measures to protect each child’s gender identity. Each situation is different and therefore, it should be approached differently.

The issue is not about who is a MAN, or who is a WOMAN. It is about who we are as a whole, as a person, as a human being—as an active member of our society. What is done to a child, whether positive or negative, is likely to reshape who this person will be in the future.

Here is a summary of the major provisions of this regulatory action. With regard to sexual harassment, Title IX regulations would:

  • Define the conduct constituting sexual harassment for Title IX purposes;
  • Specify the conditions that activate a recipient’s obligation to respond to allegations of sexual harassment and impose a general standard for the sufficiency of a recipient’s response;
  • Specify situations that require a recipient to initiate its grievance procedures; and
  • Establish procedural safeguards that must be incorporated into a recipient’s grievance procedures to ensure a fair and reliable factual determination when a recipient investigates and adjudicates a sexual harassment complaint.
  • In addition, the proposed regulations clarify that in responding to any claim of sex discrimination under Title IX, recipients are not required to deprive an individual of rights that would be otherwise guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution; prohibit the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) from requiring a recipient to pay money damages as a remedy for a violation of any Title IX regulation; and eliminate the requirement that religious institutions submit a written statement to qualify for the Title IX religious exemption.

The U.S. Department of Education and our school systems are doing everything they can to protect children’s gender identity. Still, it is not enough. They also need us to teach our own children how to protect not only their own gender identification, but also the gender identity of those next to them. We need to communicate with our own children and encourage them to respect others for who they are because the most important learning in life starts at home.


Iberkis Faltas, Ph.D.
Public Policy & Administration
Law & Policy | Management & Leadership
[email protected]

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