The Florida Department of Education has told state schools to disregard a Biden administration policy that allows biological males to compete in women’s sports and opens up female bathrooms, locker rooms, showers and dormitories to males who identify as transgender.
“The sub-regulatory ‘guidance’ documents issued by the [United States Department of Education] and the [United States Department of Agriculture] are not binding law, do not create any new legal obligations and should not be treated as governing law,” Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr. wrote in a memo to school superintendents and school boards.
In fact, if schools do implement the Biden administration’s policy, they risk violating Florida law, Diaz warned.
The Biden administration claims that the policy is consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that LGBTQ persons are protected under the anti-discrimination provisions of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But many argue that the administration is extending the ruling beyond what the high court intended.
In early May, the USDA used the same logic when it announced that any K-12 school receiving government funding must adhere to transgender-inclusive policies or risk losing the federal funds that enable them to offer affordable or free breakfast, lunch and snacks to students of low-income families.
As a result, more than 20 state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the USDA. They contend that while the Bostock opinion applies to Title VII, also known as the “employment litigation section” of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ruling itself does not mention Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which “prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
“[The Biden administration threatens to] withhold valid and appropriate nutrition from the children of hard-working, low-income families … to enforce this radical agenda,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.” “And we’re going to push back and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Similarly, Diaz made it clear that the Florida Department of Education will not “stand idly by as federal agencies attempt to impose a sexual ideology on Florida schools that risk the health, safety and welfare of Florida students.
“The Department will do everything in its power to protect the wellbeing of all Florida students and to vindicate the right of all parents to know what takes place in their child’s classroom,” he said.