Department of Education takes a Title IX hammer to freedom

Bureaucrats at President Joe Biden’s Department of Education are the new schoolyard bullies.

In July, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights proposed a rule that gives federal bureaucrats broad powers to bully and exclude students and teachers who don’t share the government’s beliefs. Instead of following the rules set in the Constitution and passed by Congress, unelected bureaucrats are rewriting the law to allow them to engage in behaviors used by bullies.

For a start, bullies like to call other children disparaging names. Likewise, the Education Department’s bureaucrats want to label anyone who respectfully disagrees with gender ideology as a bigot. Instead of defending the civil rights of all people, they are targeting some who have sincerely held beliefs about males and females, what marriage means, and the role of parents in teaching their children about faith.

Bullies also steal other children’s money. In turn, Biden’s bureaucrats are threatening to take away every taxpayer-funded penny to impose their beliefs on others and punish those who respectfully disagree. Title IX and its new rule apply to 17,600 public school districts and over 5,000 colleges, charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums that receive federal funds.

Third, bullies pressure their victims until they yield. Bureaucrats are forcing children to say things against their beliefs, using the new rule to regulate speech by coercing students and teachers to say specific pronouns the bureaucrats endorse . Even when a professor sought to resolve a disagreement over pronoun usage by offering to use a student’s last name, the bureaucrats at the Justice Department refused to accommodate and filed a brief in support of forced speech.

Finally, a bully teams up with other bullies in a gang. Through an executive order, the president has directed every federal agency, not just the Department of Education, to implement similar rules. Department of Agriculture bureaucrats have already incorporated gender ideology in the National School Lunch Program. Department of Health and Human Services bureaucrats proposed a rule on Title IX similar to the Education Department.

The Department of Education’s mission is supposed to be educational excellence in reading and writing. Instead, it is bullying schools, teachers, and students into complying with its agenda or face grave consequences. These bullies ought to learn how to read laws on the books and how to write regulations applying them.

The First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion and free speech. And the Supreme Court has held that students and teachers do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” In fact, several recent decisions, including a victory for high school football coach Joe Kennedy, make it clear that the government cannot treat religious teachers and students like second-class citizens.

Moreover, before writing any regulation, the bureaucrats should read the actual law it is supposed to apply. Title IX of the Education Amendments refers to sex in a binary manner — male and female, both sexes, one and the other sex, women and men, fathers and mothers. It expressly exempted “Christian” women’s and men’s associations that had single-sex memberships. Title IX has a religious exemption because Congress recognized the approach to education may “not be consistent with the religious tenets” of some people.

Federal bureaucrats at the Department of Education have a lot to learn. Their job is to protect the civil rights of students and teachers, not trample them.

Maya Noronha is special counsel for external affairs at First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit law firm exclusively dedicated to defending religious liberty for all Americans. Read more at

* Article from: The Washington Examiner