If North Carolina moves ahead and passes the bill the special session is considering today, the state could lose billions in Title IX funding.
Title IX is a provision of the 1972 Education Amendments law that says: “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Title IX applies to any school that receives federal funding, which include about 16,500 local districts, 7,500 postsecondary institutions, "as well as charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums."
In 2014, the Department of Education clarified that transgender students
are, in fact, protected under Title IX.
The North Carolina legislature, in its infinite wisdom, is targeting schools as well as cities in its bill.
"It's in jeopardy because the Department of Education prohibits precisely what the legislature is trying to do today," says Susanna Birdsong of the North Carolina ACLU. "Title IX has recently been interpreted that when schools provide separate restrooms for boys and girls, it needs to provide access for transgender students to use the bathroom consistent with gender identity."
North Carolina will receive an estimated $4,58 billion in Title IX federal funding in 2016 at all educational levels, according to Department of Education projections
. Some or all of that could be in jeopardy if the legislature gets its way. Asked if there would be a legal challenge to the law on Title IX grounds, Birdsong replies, "Absolutely."
"That loss of funding would be a huge loss to North Carolina schools," Birdsong says. "We're talking about everything from kindergarten through college. On all fronts it's costly, because it jeopardizes billions of dollars in federal funding, and invites litigation on several fronts. It is, in every conceivable way, an ill-advised idea."