Attorney General Bonta Leads 16 Attorneys General in Support of Increased Protections for All Students on Title IX’s Final Rule

Thursday, June 13, 2024
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OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta, New Jersey Attorney General Mathew J. Platkin, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle A. Henry today led a coalition of 16 attorneys general in filing a multistate amicus brief in the Northern District of Alabama in support of the U.S. Department of Education’s 2024 Title IX Final Rule amidst several lawsuits filed by Republican states attorneys general and groups seeking to undermine the rule’s enhanced protections. The final rule restores strong protections against sexual harassment and assault and reinforces critical protections for LGBTQ+ students. Today’s announcement comes shortly after the California Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss without prejudice its lawsuit against the Trump administration's Title IX Rule that severely weakened prohibitions against sex-based discrimination in light of the Biden administration’s issuance of the final rule. In today’s amicus brief, the multistate coalition stresses the importance of implementing the new rule nationwide to ensure that our schools operate free from sex discrimination.

“Conservative attacks on policies that protect students across the nation will not stand. I will continue to use all of my resources to fight for these important protections for all students,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today’s amicus brief shows our continued commitment to ensure an equal education free from discrimination. These protections provide safety and security for all students. We stand behind the Biden administration’s final Title XI rule, which enhances safeguards against discrimination for all students.”

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires that students receive an educational environment free from discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. Following the Biden administration’s issuance of the final rule, several conservative attorneys general moved quickly to file lawsuits challenging the rule, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to stop the rule from going into effect on August 1, 2024. Nevertheless, the common experience of today’s coalition states shows that protecting students from discrimination on the basis of sex dramatically improves economic, psychological, health, employment, and educational outcomes for these individuals, yielding broad benefits without imposing significant costs on schools or compromising student privacy or safety.  

In today’s brief, the coalition defends the final rule against, arguing that: 

  • The final rule’s grievance procedures do not violate the Administrative Procedure Act. The final rule reflects thoughtful consideration of comments and reasonably restores to schools the discretion to tailor their grievance procedures with procedural safeguards to guarantee integrity and fairness in the grievance process, while also meeting specific needs, including budgetary and staffing realities.
  • The final rule includes a definition of sexual harassment that encompasses both severe and pervasive forms of harassment, which is essential to ensure the safety and sense of belonging that students need in order to learn and thrive.
  • The final rule will foster positive health outcomes for transgender and LGBTQ+ students. LGBTQ+ students experience positive mental health and academic outcomes when they are safe and supported in school. For transgender students, ensuring a discrimination free and gender affirming school environment reduces suicidal ideation and suicide attempts and enhances well-being and functioning. 

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta is joined by the attorneys general of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. 

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

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