Sarah Huckabee Sanders instructs state to disregard new Title IX regulations

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) has directed the state to resist recent amendments to Title IX, which aim to provide additional safeguards for transgender students.

Sanders, a former press secretary to former President Trump, has joined a growing coalition of Republican governors who are openly opposing the Biden administration’s revision of the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools and education programs that receive federal funding.

In an executive order signed on Thursday, Sanders expressed his disapproval of the Title IX rules recently implemented by the Education Department. He criticized the expansion of the definition of sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity, deeming it as “plainly ridiculous.” Sanders believes that these rules will result in unfair competition, as males could participate in women’s sports, gain access to their facilities like locker rooms and bathrooms, and even compete for women’s scholarships.

The order mandates that schools maintain the enforcement of state laws that restrict transgender students from utilizing restrooms and locker rooms and participating in sports teams based on their gender identity. Additionally, schools must adhere to the 2023 Arkansas law, which prohibits public school and state employees from using a name or pronoun for minors that does not correspond with their assigned sex at birth, unless parental permission is obtained.

During a speech at the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock, Sanders expressed his concerns about Biden’s policies. He highlighted the potential consequences, stating that if Biden’s proposals are implemented, female college students may have to share shower and changing facilities with male college students. Sanders also emphasized that using biologically correct pronouns could lead to disciplinary action for harassment. Furthermore, he mentioned that scholarships that were previously exclusively available to women may now be open to anyone who claims to be a woman.

“I want to send a clear message to Joe Biden and the federal government: we will not comply,” she asserted firmly.

More than a dozen Republican-led states have filed lawsuits against the Education Department, challenging the legality of the new Title IX regulations. They argue that the inclusion of gender identity in the expanded definition of sex discrimination is unlawful. It remains uncertain how Sanders plans to enforce the executive order, as it is the first to directly challenge the federal government’s rule.

State education officials in Republican-controlled states have also instructed schools to disregard the new Title IX rule.

The Education Department has not provided a comment in response to a request, however, a department spokesperson had previously informed The Hill that schools must comply with these final regulations in order to receive federal education funding.

Sanders’s executive order commits to pursuing legal action against the Biden administration for any financial losses incurred by the state as a result of implementing unscientific agendas.

According to Sanders, there is only one law at play here. He highlighted that his group is not attempting to bypass the system like the Biden administration, which is issuing new guidance on Title IX. Instead, they are focused on enforcing and upholding state law in Arkansas. Sanders emphasized the importance of institutions in the state adhering to these laws.

The Biden administration is still in the process of finalizing a rule that will determine eligibility for athletics.

The Education Department introduced a proposal last April that aims to prevent schools from implementing policies that completely exclude transgender student-athletes. However, high schools and colleges would still have the authority to establish limitations on the participation of transgender students based on their gender identity.

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