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Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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May 31, 2024

Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 16 attorneys general, today filed an amicus brief defending Title IX – the landmark law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in education – from a federal court challenge that threatens the rights of students in schools and colleges nationwide.

“All students should be protected from harassment and discrimination in the classroom,” Raoul said. “Efforts to limit Title IX are shortsighted and discriminatory and would have a negative effect on the well-being of youth. I will continue to stand with my fellow attorneys general to protect students in Illinois and around the country by defending Title IX.”

In their amicus brief filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky, Raoul and the coalition are supporting the U.S. Department of Education’s recently issued Final Rule from a lawsuit to block implementation of the rule and return to insufficient 2020 standards that did not include protections for transgender students.

In their brief, Raoul and the coalition argue:

  • The Final Rule’s definitions of sex and sex discrimination align with the text and judicial interpretations of Title IX. The Final Rule’s ban on gender identity discrimination against students fulfills the purpose of Title IX. In addition, sex-based harassment need not be both severe and pervasive to violate Title IX, as the plaintiffs argue. As outlined in the rule, the department’s policy and practices have long used a “severe or pervasive” standard to prevent and stop school-based sexual harassment and ensure equal access to education.
  • The Final Rule does not violate the Spending Clause of the Constitution. The Final Rule does not require states to create new programs – it merely requires that they refrain from discriminating against students on the basis of sex, and fix any discrimination they may find, in return for accepting Title IX funding.
  • Implementation of the Final Rule will benefit students nationwide. The prior rule made students of all gender identities and expressions less safe, and the clarity in the new Final Rule will especially protect transgender and gender nonconforming students, who are among the most vulnerable populations in our schools.

Raoul and the coalition also highlight that a return to efforts to narrow Title IX would impose significant costs on local and state governments when students experience increased or uncorrected incidents of sexual harassment, including financial, health and societal costs, increased absenteeism, lost revenue from dropouts and unemployment, and health service costs.

Joining Raoul in filing today’s amicus are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.