DeSantis ‘will not comply’ with rules to protect transgender students

Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

By Giselle Balido

April 26, 2024

“Refusing to comply with Title IX could have damaging consequences for schools, including significant loss in funding on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Brandon Wolf, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that Florida “will not comply” with changes to Title IX made by President Joe Biden’s administration that add protections for transgender students to the federal civil rights law on sex-based discrimination.

The new provisions are part of a revised Title IX regulation issued by the Education Department, fulfilling a campaign pledge by President Joe Biden to dismantle rules created by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The Trump-era rules limited how schools could investigate sex discrimination cases, while the new rules expand the definition of sexual assault and harassment. That means schools will be able investigate more cases of discrimination, abuse or harassment. Under the new regulations, college student survivors will also no longer be required to attend live hearings or go through cross examinations.

“These final regulations build on the legacy of Title IX by clarifying that all our nation’s students can access schools that are safe, welcoming, and respect their rights,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. The changes will take effect in early August.

But not in Florida, if DeSantis has his way.

“Florida rejects [President Biden’s] attempt to rewrite Title IX,” the Republican governor said in a video posted to the social platform X. “We will not comply, and we will fight back.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody also opposes the new rule and has vowed to challenge the regulations, which are set to be implemented in August.

“We absolutely plan to challenge this betrayal of women in court,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement.

RELATED: DeSantis Targets the Freedom and Privacy of Students, Asks Universities to Hand Over Transgender Medical Treatment Data

DeSantis’ decision drew criticism from LGBTQ advocates, who accused him of targeting the LGBTQ community for political gain.

“These MAGA politicians are choosing theatrics and hateful rhetoric over protecting and furthering the needs of their state’s students,” Brandon Wolf, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “Refusing to comply with Title IX could have damaging consequences for schools, including significant loss in funding on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars — dollars that should be going to helping young people achieve academic excellence. That appears to be a sacrifice that those whose only priorities are themselves and their own political profiles are willing to make.”

DeSantis has in recent years passed some of the harshest anti-LGBTQ legislation in the country. He signed HB 1069, the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” expansion that prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from pre-K through the eighth grade, and HB 1521, an anti-trans bathroom bill that criminalizes transgender people for using the restroom that matches their gender identity, among other prohibitions.

Many Republican-controlled states, including Florida, have also adopted laws restricting the rights of transgender children in the last few years. These include banning gender-affirming medical care for minors and restricting which bathrooms and locker rooms transgender students can use, banning them from using facilities that align with their gender identity, and attempts to bar transgender youths from taking part in women’s sports.

Following DeSantis’ lead, Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters also announced Thursday that he has directed schools across the state not to follow the Title IX changes.

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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