On April 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it would take immediate action in response to President Biden’s March 8, 2021 Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and conduct a comprehensive review of the Department’s existing Title IX regulations, orders, guidance, policies, and any other similar agency actions, including the amendments to the Title IX regulations that took effect on August 14, 2020.
As part of the comprehensive review, the Department will hold a public hearing for stakeholders, including students, educators, and others with interest and expertise in Title IX, to express their views and insights on the issue of sexual harassment in school environments, including sexual violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, OCR plans to release a Q&A document to provide additional clarity regarding how OCR interprets schools’ obligations under the 2020 Title IX Amendments, including the areas in which schools may exercise discretion in their procedures for responding to reports of sexual harassment. Following completion of the review and hearing from the public, OCR plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the Title IX regulations. That notice will provide the public with another opportunity to provide comments through a formal notice-and-comment period.
Please note, at this time, the Department’s 2020 Title IX Amendments remain in effect, and all districts should continue to follow its requirements.
If you have any questions regarding Title IX requirements and investigatory proceedings, please contact Kaitlin Atlas or any one of our attorneys in the Students/Special Education practice group.