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U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance on Application of Title IX to Transgender Students

Publisher: Day Pitney Alert
May 13, 2016
Day Pitney Author(s) Steven A. Cash

Today, the U.S. Department of Education issued a "Dear Colleague" letter containing "significant guidance" summarizing and explaining the views of the Department of Education and Department of Justice on the applicability of Title IX to transgender students. The letter is accompanied by a Department of Education document titled "Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students."

The guidance documents make clear that the Department of Education will treat gender identity as functionally equivalent to the student's sex for purposes of Title IX compliance. In short, schools receiving federal funds "must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity." 

The Department of Education asserts that this guidance does not constitute new law but simply offers "information and examples" to help covered schools comply with the law. However, the guidance immediately attracted extensive media attention and clearly indicates that covered schools should pay attention to what will likely be a contentious area of regulatory and investigative focus.

Day Pitney LLP and Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC recently announced the launch of their joint Title IX Investigations Initiative. This initiative will allow the firms to provide existing and new clients fuller services in the wake of a growing number of Title IX investigations. The initiative will encompass regulatory inquiries and investigations likely to be generated by increased attention to Title IX issues in the context of transgender students.

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