Title IX: Upcoming OCR Public Hearings And Request For Comment

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Members of the public, including educators and school administrators, will have a rare opportunity in June 2021 to speak directly to federal education officials about sexual discrimination in education and the application of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced it will host a series of virtual public hearings between June 7, 2021 and June 11, 2021 focused on improving Title IX enforcement. Members of the public — including school administrators, educators and students — will be able to provide live comments during the virtual hearing, or written comments via e-mail, on the application of Title IX in their school settings. In addition, the hearings are open, allowing the public to listen to the commentary. Registration is required for live comment and there are slots reserved specifically for students and educators.

The hearing follows President Biden’s March 8, 2021 executive order: “Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.” In that executive order, the President directed the Secretary of Education to review the May 2020 rule titled “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance,” and other agency actions to ensure consistency with Title IX and the executive order. OCR is seeking input on a range of topics, including on making certain educational environments are free from sexual harassment, confirming that schools have appropriate grievance procedures for reports of sexual harassment and other sex discrimination, and addressing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in educational environments.

Links for virtual attendance and registration for live comments will be available on OCR’s website. Written comments may be sent to [email protected]; they must be received by 5 p.m. EST on June 11, 2021, and include the subject line “Written Comment: Title IX Public Hearing (topic of the comment).” For additional information on submitting written comments, registering to attend the hearing, or registering to make live comments, please see Federal Register Notice Announcing Title IX Public Hearing (PDF).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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