Tuesday, June 2, 2020

ED's Anti-Transgender "Impending Enforcement Action"

The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has threatened six Connecticut school districts and the Connecticut Interstate Athletic Conference with loss of federal funds if they do not resolve to disqualify trans girls from competing against cisgender girls.

Throughout the May 15 letter, ED refers to the trans girls as “biological males” which indicates inherent bias and reflects having simply regurgitated Alliance Defending Freedom's transphobic language (ADF orchestrated the complaint). According to OCR, female students were discriminated against because, unlike male students, they were not able to compete “on a level playing field” in violation of Title IX.

The “Impending Enforcement Action” letter was signed by Timothy C.J. Blanchard as the director of the New York Office. Blanchard has undergraduate and law degrees from Louisiana State University and has been practicing law for over 30 years. Prior to his current assignment, Blanchard was the director of the Dallas OCR office.

Aside from the biased language in the letter there is no indication of any efforts to ascertain whether or not trans girls do have a competitive advantage. This controversy could be settled according to medical science.

ADF does not want to settle the matter. They are using athletics to attack transgender people because of religious disapproval.

This turns the Office of Civil Rights upside down. During the Obama presidency OCR was protective of transgender rights and accommodations. Now they have sided with Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

Throughout the process, the targets have complained of difficulty responding because of the coronavirus. According to the letter, “OCR will take further enforcement action after no fewer than 20 calendar days from the date of this letter if resolution of these complaints has not yet been reached.”

Further action means a loss of federal funding. To do that ED will either have to launch administrative proceedings or refer the matter to the Department of Justice. That will place the matter before an administrative law judge or a federal district court judge.

An adverse ruling could have broad implications for transgender accommodations in public schools across the country. Nevertheless, the process has just begun and a ruling will take some time.  It could also be appealed to the Second Circuit. The process might possibly be interrupted by a change in the administration next January.

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