One year after the Supreme Court ruled that protections in the Civil Rights Act against discrimination in the workplace extend to gay and transgender people, the Education Department said on Wednesday that those protections also extend to students.
The department said that discrimination against gay and transgender students is prohibited under Title IX, a law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded schools, the New York Times reports.
“We just want to double down on our expectations,” Miguel A. Cardona, the education secretary, said Tuesday. “Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.”
Since taking office, Biden has initiated a full-speed-ahead effort to rescind, revise or revoke a number of Trump policies involving transgender people. The Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services have all issued guidance affirming transgender rights.
Cardona added that the department’s announcement does not change the process of reporting or investigating individual cases of discrimination.
“The reality is each case has to be investigated individually,” he said. Schools, he added, should “not wait for complaints to come to address these issues.”
He likened the announcement to setting down a marker for schools nationwide, alerting them that the department would not tolerate discrimination in schools receiving federal funding.
“This is really clarity around how we interpret it,” Cardona said. “We need to make sure we are supporting all students in our schools.”