COLUMBUS, Ohio — Members of Ohio’s Board of Education can’t come to a consensus.
Debating since September on a resolution denouncing an expanded definition of Title IX, board members remain at odds about what to tell schools regarding protections of transgender school children.
In July, the Biden administration requested public comment on the expanded definitions under Title IX which redefined “sex” to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” which some saw as destroying protections of female students under the original 1972 Title IX law.
Not only is the Biden administration telling schools to accept the expanded definitions, but it says it will threaten schools who don’t follow the new Title IX definitions by withholding federal funds for a schools lunch programs.
It's a change that could require schools to permit transgender student access to bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams or face a loss of federal funds.
If passed, the resolution would direct Ohio's state superintendent to send a letter to all local schools boards telling them that the changes to Title IX are not final and they should not feel obligated to follow them. And it would recommend state lawmakers authorize stopgap funding to local districts that refuse to comply.
“We are not saying anything the attorney general hasn't already said,” said Mike Toal, Member At-Large who has proposed his own amendment.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is pushing back on the Biden administration’s policy updates that compel schools receiving federal nutritional assistance and other funding subject to Title IX to adopt “detrimental and onerous gender identity policies” or risk losing that financial support. Yost joined 21 other attorneys general in filing a lawsuit arguing that the changes are illegal.
Board members debated for three hours Monday on two amended resolutions and then a surprise third amendment from Board President Charlotte McGuire.
Roughly half an hour before the meeting was to adjourn for the day, she presented her own resolution that “urges the General Assembly to oppose and take appropriate policy action to address Title IX regulatory changes and to protect and uphold student and parental rights as well as local control of schools and districts defined in the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3313.” (insert document here)
“When you have kids showing up first day of class asking them to state their pronouns, that's a big issue that is happening right now,” said Board Member Brendan Shea.
“Mr. Shea said there is not one wrong fact 'in my whereas’. I call bull on that. They are full of misinformation and mistruths,” said Board Member Michelle Newman.
Without a consensus, the board plans to meet again next month. They could still not agree and meet again in December or decide to not vote until next year when new board members take office.
Even if the board chose not to vote, Republicans, who hold supermajorities in both the Ohio House and Senate, have introduced bills to ban transgender girls from female sports teams, block minors from accessing hormone therapy, and restrict how content labeled as "explicit" gets taught.