President Biden's proposed changes for Title IX have stirred up such controversy that they've generated a record number of public comments from parents, many of whom are concerned about their children's safety in schools, and what the amendments will mean for women's sports.
The Biden administration proposed new regulations on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools, to expand the protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies recently released a study highlighting what they called the "Dirty Dozen Defects" of the draft. The "defects" the group said has fired parents up most are those that would require schools and colleges to allow biological males to compete in girls’ sports and use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their "gender identity."
Monday marks the last day of public comment period for the Title IX proposals. As of Friday, it received a record-breaking number of comments for the Department of Education – over 184,000 as of Sunday – from individuals sounding off on the rule to redefine sex.
"Your rule changes will destroy girl's sports. It will no longer exist. Your rule changes will subject girls to boys in their private spaces. Your rule changes will perpetuate the spread of confused children who claim to be another gender to fit in," one parent wrote, saying, they "can't even publicly comment on this issue without fear of retaliation."
Yael Levin-Sheldon, technology and communication officer for No Left Turn in Education, said she commented through the portal provided by the Defense of Freedom Institute, which offered four main categories – parental rights, women’s sports, due process, and freedom of speech. She said she submitted a comment through all four.
"The obvious concern I would say is that Title IX was made specifically to make a space for women so adding gender identity to it pretty much voids it," Levin-Sheldon told Fox News Digital.
"As a mom… the clear usurpation of parental rights that basically a child… the schools are assuming the responsibility of in loco parentis and acting as if they are the parents or legal guardians of the child and will be able to hide anything they want from the parents," she continued.
Individuals of all ages sounded off on the controversial provisions.
"For fifty years, Title IX has provided important protections and opportunities for women by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex," one commenter wrote. "While parents across the country are demanding the rejection of ‘woke’ policies, the Department of Education instead has chosen to hijack Title IX to force gender ideology on children without their parents’ knowledge or approval. This proposed rule is a lawless interpretation and is a complete overreach by the Department of Education. As a 71-year-old woman who has cherished Title IX, this is abhorrent and must be stopped. Please do the right thing and oppose the Biden Regime."
Others threatened to file lawsuits.
"You are using non-discrimination laws in an illegal and unconstitutional way, and if this hits my kids’ school, we will file a lawsuit," one user wrote.
"I think that it’s an absolute certainly that is the administration proceeds with the proposed rule as written… particular as it regards to gender identity but also as it applies to many of the due process provision changes, there will absolutely be litigation," Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies President Robert Eitel told Fox News Digital. "And litigation will be filed not only by students with appropriate standing but also the states."
Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon provided the following statement to Fox News Digital:
"We appreciate each of the commenters for taking the time to share views about the proposed amendments to the Department’s Title IX regulations. We look forward to reviewing each and every comment to help inform the development of the final regulations. The promise of Title IX remains as vital today as it has been over its five decades, and the Department is committed to its full and fair enforcement."
Biden’s Title IX proposals include changes to former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' 2020 due process rules, which was the previous record holder for public comments. Her changes "weakened protections for survivors of sexual assault and diminished the promise of an education free from discrimination," the Biden White House charged.
The Biden administration proposals, Eitel explained, would do away with the requirement that postsecondary institutions have live hearings – unless required by state law – and the right of cross-examination by advisors. It would also bring back what is referred to as the single investigator model, where the same individual will consider a complaint, investigate the matter, develop the case file, interview the witnesses, proceed with any Title IX disciplinary proceeding, and then decide whether there should be penalties.
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Asked if the record number of comments for the Title IX proposals would convince the Biden administration to back away from controversial provisions, Eitel said it was "possible, but improbable" because "there is a core political constituency that is demanding this change."