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Department of Education threatening to withhold federal funding over Connecticut transgender policy

Department of Education threatening to withhold federal funding over Connecticut transgender policy
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The U.S. Department of Education is threatening to withhold federal funding from Connecticut public schools over a policy that allows transgender girls to play on girls' sports teams, according to The Associated Press.

The move stems from a complaint filed last year by several cisgender female track athletes against two transgender female runners, claiming they had an unfair physical advantage. The Department of Education’s office for civil rights determined that the policy allowing transgender girls to play in the same sports as cisgender girls was violates the civil rights of athletes who are not transgender.

New Haven Public Schools and the Capitol Region Education Council were reportedly asked to sign a document in order to receive $3 million in federal funds for magnet schools saying they will “not participate in any interscholastic sporting events” unless they rescind their policy on transgender athletes. 

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The schools argue that they are following a state law that requires students to be treated as the gender that they identify. The Department of Education argues that this violates the rights of cisgender students under Title IX, a federal law that guarantees equal opportunities in education.

Timothy Sullivan Jr., the superintendent of schools for the education council, told the AP it will not sign the document, adding that it is “unconscionable that the federal government would threaten to take away funds that support Hartford area children during a pandemic, and we will fight to keep the money in our community.”

“However, no amount of money will deter us from accepting all children for who they are and providing equitable access to programs and services,” Sullivan added. 

Department of Education Press Secretary Angela Morabito told The Hill that “Congress requires the Department to withhold funds from schools that aren’t in compliance with the law.”

“Connecticut applicants declined — on multiple occasions — to assure the Office for Civil Rights that they are in compliance with Title IX,” Marabito added.

Updated at 5:01 p.m.