The U.S. Department of Education told BuzzFeed News it will refuse to hear complaints from transgender students who are banned from using the bathroom aligning with their gender identity.
A department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News on Feb. 8 that restroom complaints from transgender students are not covered by Title IX.
“Where students, including transgender students, are penalized or harassed for failing to conform to sex-based stereotypes, that is sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX,” the spokesperson said to BuzzFeed News. “In the case of bathrooms, however, long-standing regulations provide that separating facilities on the basis of sex is not a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”
Ames Simmons, director of transgender policy at Equality NC, said the decision will directly harm transgender students.
“The Department of Education is essentially saying that they are not going to do their job,” he said. “They are there to make sure that students have an opportunity to learn in a safe environment free from discrimination, and when kids are not able to use the restrooms that accord with their gender identity, it places them at risk for violence.”