Apr 30, 2024 - News

DeSantis says Florida will “fight” new Title IX guidelines

Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr., speaking at a podium.

Florida Education Commissioner Manny Díaz Jr. speaks at a news conference. Photo: Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida's schools "will not comply" with the federal government's pending revisions to Title IX guidelines set to take effect Aug. 1.

Why it matters: Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

  • Rejecting the guidelines could threaten the millions of dollars Florida's schools receive annually.

The big picture: The updates include specific protections for LGBTQ+ students and prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation — issues DeSantis and Republican lawmakers have targeted in recent years.

  • Lawmakers banned transgender girls from playing on girls' sports teams and, more recently, rescinded a policy allowing transgender people to obtain a driver's license corresponding with their gender identity.

What they're saying: In a video posted to X on Thursday, DeSantis said Florida would "fight back."

  • "We are not going to let [President] Joe Biden try to inject men into women's activities [and] undermine the rights of parents," DeSantis said.

Reality check: The new rules did not address whether transgender and nonbinary students could play on a sports team that corresponded with their gender identity, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

What they're saying: In a memo sent to district superintendents last week, Education Commissioner Manny Díaz Jr. said "no educational institution should begin implementing any changes."

  • Díaz said the updates "violate various federal and state laws," including the state's Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by critics.

Flashback: This isn't the first time Díaz has instructed districts to avoid implementing new rules related to Title IX.

  • In 2022, he said guidance from the federal Department of Education was not "binding law" and asked officials to refuse any change, Tampa Bay Times reported.
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