Nonprofit monitoring Title IX court cases that could affect private, homeschools in certain states

As an increasing number of states are suing the Biden administration for revising Title IX law, a homeschool nonprofit is monitoring the situation.

“A federal court of appeals ruling last month…

As an increasing number of states are suing the Biden administration for revising Title IX law, a homeschool nonprofit is monitoring the situation.

“A federal court of appeals ruling last month protects nonprofits (including private schools and homeschools) from federal overreach in the context of Title IX regulations,” the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) wrote recently on its website.

“The ruling overturned a dangerous decision that could have affected homeschools that are considered private schools in some states, and HSLDA is pleased with the outcome. But we will continue to monitor other deeply concerning federal district court decisions regarding Title IX regulations and private schools.”

‘Federal financial assistance’ defined

Congress passed Title IX in 1972 to outlaw sex-based discrimination in education programs and activities receiving “federal financial assistance.”

Federal courts have issued contradictory rulings over what constitutes this assistance, which could affect private schools, homeschools, and potentially even nonprofits in general.

HSLDA highlighted two federal district court cases in July 2022, illustrating problems with this definition. 

One took place in California, where court officials ruled a private tax-exempt Christian school receiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans during the COVID-19 pandemic could be subject to Title IX regulations. 

Another case in Maryland took the issue a step further, arguing a private K-12 Christian school’s 501(c)(3) tax exemption alone qualified as federal financial assistance under Title IX. 

“This was deeply concerning, and not just for 501(c)(3) institutions,” HSLDA staffers wrote. “Could another tax exemption (like 501(c)(7) social clubs) cause an entity to be subject to Title IX? What about education tax credits, property tax credits, or even a child tax credit?” 

The nonprofit welcomed a March 27 federal court of appeals ruling in Maryland, which overturned the district court’s decision and unanimously concluded “tax exemption for charitable institutions is deeply rooted in American history.”

“Since Title IX’s inception over fifty years ago, it has never been applied to organizations based solely on their tax exempt status,” the court said, noting tax exemption withholds a tax burden and is not “the affirmative grant of funds.”

Because the court’s decision took place in the Fourth Circuit, its ruling does not cover states outside Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. 

However, HSLDA hailed the case as a “strong foundational argument to protect the tax-exempt status of homeschool organizations across the country.”

Issues in schools involving biological males, females 

By including gender identity in Title IX’s definition of sex discrimination, the federal government is forcing schools and universities to allow biological males in female spaces such as locker rooms, bathrooms, and shared hotel rooms.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced a multistate lawsuit May 7 against the Title IX rewrite.

“The Biden Administration has threatened to hold federal funding hostage from any institution who rejects this unconstitutional and sexist rule,” Bailey said in a press release. “I’m filing suit because I will not allow federal bureaucrats to subject Missouri girls to unsafe conditions in order to push a radical transgender ideology.”

Even before the rule goes into effect Aug. 1, schoolchildren have already experienced situations where female students were forced to share historically private spaces with biological males. 

In a Kansas school district, three female students on a 2022 school trip to Costa Rica were assigned to a two-bed hotel room with a transgender student who is biologically male. 

As a result, one of them would have had to share a bed with the trans student. When one girl objected to the arrangement, the chaperone reportedly told her to “deal with it.” 

Another incident occurred at Kansas State University, where the housing policy at Rock Springs 4-H Youth Camp caused at least one biological boy to be housed in a girls’ dorm.

Parents had not been informed of the arrangement ahead of time.

Some of the most vocal opponents of the Title IX revision include female athletes, who note the legislation’s original purpose was to ensure equal opportunity for women to participate in college athletics.

However, biological males have athletic advantages over biological females, which have been confirmed in scientific studies and acknowledged by left-leaning media outlets such as NBC News. 

“A comparison between the 2016 male finalists for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championship – an elite track and field tournament for the best junior high and high school competitors in the country – and the 2016 women’s Olympic track and field finalists found that in many cases, the women’s gold medalists would not have even qualified to enter the boys’ competition,” Patrick Richardson wrote for The Sentinel. 

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach has filed another multistate lawsuit over the Title IX revision, addressing the challenge it would pose for female students if they were competing against their male peers.

“This unlawful rule also robs girls and women of their opportunity to participate in their school’s education programs and activities, especially athletics, by forcing them to compete with biological males,” Kobach said in the complaint filed. “It forces both boys and girls, in their most formative years, to sacrifice their privacy in personal spaces such as restrooms, locker rooms, and even overnight accommodations.” 

The lawsuit also accused the revision of violating “the First Amendment rights of teachers and school employees who have sincerely held religious beliefs that would prevent them from complying with the rule.” 

As of May 21, a total of 26 states have filed lawsuits related to the Title IX revision: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

Several of these states, including Kansas and Indiana, define homeschools as non-accredited private schools.

HSLDA encourages homeschool families who want more information about Title IX cases to contact its senior counsel, Darren Jones, who directs the nonprofit’s Group Services program. 

“You can rest assured that HSLDA will keep this Fourth Circuit decision in our back pocket,” staffers wrote, “in case any nosey government agencies try to regulate homeschool groups simply because they are a 501(c) organization.”