WASHINGTON (CNS) – A number of Catholic and other faith-based associations and groups, including dioceses, have joined in support of an amicus court brief filed in a court case about how the administration’s proposal Biden’s broad interpretation of Title IX provisions could affect nonprofit organizations, including private schools.

“While Title IX has received the most attention for its impact on athletics, particularly as it relates to women at the college level, it applies to a variety of K-12 educational programs. and has been adapted by most other federal agencies to govern workplace policies,” the National Catholic Educational Association said in an Aug. 23 statement.

“While schools are recipients of federal financial assistance, the obligations of institutions receiving that assistance are addressed in several civil rights statutes and employment regulations,” the NCEA said.

“New interpretations of these laws and regulations have raised questions and concerns about their applicability to Catholic schools that have received equitable services, not funds,” he said.

The NCEA has joined the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the American Council on Private Education, the Association of Independent Schools, the Christian Schools International, the National Association of Episcopal Schools, and the National Council of Islamic Schools, as well as various dioceses, international associations and non-profit organizations in a letter of support for a amicus curiae brief filed by the National Association of Independent Schools.

In two recent court decisions, judges ruled that federal tax-exempt status constitutes federal financial assistance, which in turn affects how Title IX is applied to schools and other tax-exempt nonprofits. . The association’s brief calls for a reconsideration of these decisions.

Title IX is the most commonly used name for the federal civil rights law in the United States that was enacted as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any school or any other educational program that receives federal government funding. government.

The Department of Education under the Biden administration released a proposed change to Title IX rules to address gender discrimination in schools by strengthening victim protections and changing language to include sexual orientation and gender. gender identity for LGBTQI+ students.

One of two recent court rulings came in a lawsuit brought by Concordia Preparatory School, a parochial coeducational high school serving grades 6-12 in Towson, Maryland.

The U.S. District Court in Maryland rejected the school’s arguments that it was not subject to Title IX and agreed with the plaintiffs that the school’s tax-exempt status represented sufficient federal financial assistance for submit the school to Title IX.

On August 4, Concordia Preparatory School filed a motion to reconsider the district court’s decision or appeal to the 4th United States Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia. The tour includes Maryland.

In the second case, the US District Court for the Central District of California reached the same result as the court in Maryland on July 25.

This case involves a student who played football at a public school competing against an independent school, Valley Christian Academy.

The student claimed that Valley Christian Academy violated her rights under Title IX because the academy banned her from participating in a football competition against the independent school.

The plaintiff argued that the Christian school was subject to Title IX because it was a 501(c)(3) institution and because it accepted a loan under the federal protection program. pay checks.

The loans, backed by the Small Business Administration, have helped businesses and other employers, like schools, keep their workforces employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This new interpretation triggers obligations, in those jurisdictions, not only under Title IX, but also Title VI, which has no religious exemptions,” the NCEA said. “These (regulations) contain many onerous requirements, including staff to administer compliance, that would be next to impossible for small or modest private schools in terms of time, finances and paperwork.”

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives federal funds or other federal financial assistance.

“Historically, most independent schools have not been subject to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 because they do not accept federal funds,” said McGuireWoods, an international law firm headquartered in in Richmond. Among its many clients are non-profit entities.

“Many independent schools carefully assess whether to accept certain funds so they can monitor whether they are subject to Title IX,” he said.

During the pandemic, some independent schools “cautiously accepted federal financial assistance” under the PPP “on the understanding that, based on Department of Education guidelines, this would require compliance with Title IX only until whether the PPP loan is fully forgiven or repaid,” McGuireWoods said.

But these recent court rulings on federal financial aid and nonprofits “could have significant implications for independent schools and tax-exempt organizations across the United States,” the company said.

“While this is the subject of litigation, Catholic schools are encouraged to participate in the programs as they do,” the NCEA said in its statement.

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Editor’s Note: The U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Rule for Title IX Amendments – “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Educational Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance” – has been published by the Federal Register on July 12, opening a 60-day comment period. This period ends on September 12. The full document can be viewed online at https://bit.ly/3pHJR4H. Comments may be filed at the Federal Register site, https://bit.ly/3dWUJc1.

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