ADVOCATES AND ATTORNEYS NATIONWIDE DEMAND BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IMPROVE TITLE IX ENFORCEMENT THROUGH U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
Elizabeth Abdnour Law, along with several national nonprofit organizations and attorneys, signed onto an open letter issued by Laura L. Dunn of the L.L. Dunn Law Firm addressed to the U.S. Department of Education with several federal lawmakers and the White House’s Gender Policy Council copied demanding that the Biden administration improve Title IX enforcement.
This open letter starts: “We are a group of Title IX attorneys and advocates from across the country deeply concerned about issues arising around Title IX enforcement by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). These issues arise at a time when students are experiencing unusually high rates of sexual assault and dating violence, schools have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an additional excuse to worsen already inequitable athletics programs while there are increasing issues around equity for name/use/likeness, pregnant students need increasing support in this post-Roe-era, and when private enforcement of Title IX is being weakened after 50 years of holding educational institutions accountable for sex-based discrimination.” Over 35 groups have signed onto this letter.
The letter also notes that post-Cummings, several district courts across the country have ruled to prevent Title IX plaintiffs from obtaining emotional distress damages. The group notes that this will “curtail contingency-based civil rights representation for Title IX cases in the United States, significantly reducing available legal services for survivors, especially low-income survivors. OCR’s effective enforcement of Title IX is more important than ever.” The letter calls on Congress to double OCR’s budget and for OCR to hire more qualified civil rights attorneys.
In support of the letter, the mother of a Texas-based high school survivor shared their family’s experience filing Title IX Complaint No. 06-21-1668 against Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District (GCISD) back in September 2021, only to have OCR delay opening an investigation for seven months in April 2022. “It’s been upsetting for our daughter to be at that school every day. Every step through the Title IX process (including now the OCR process), we have encountered pushback and delays. Multiple times, the school did not adhere to the Title IX guidelines, and each time, that caused us more pain. We picked our house so our kids could attend GCISD, but our entire family has become disenchanted with the district.”
Supporters are encouraged to call their Congress members to demand that they hold OCR to better enforcement of Title IX at a time when it is under attack.
FOR COMMENT: Laura L. Dunn, 202-302-4679.
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Liz Abdnour is an experienced, dedicated, and client-centered attorney and advocate who has committed her career to working towards justice and equality for all people.