BOSTON (WWLP) – Attorney General Maura Healey Saturday joined a partnership of 16 attorney general in support of the federal government’s proposed rule aimed to strengthen the protections against sex discrimination, including sexual violence and harassment, under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.

Title IX requires schools to give educational programs and activities that are free from sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence.

In the comment letter, led by California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the partnership applauds the federal government’s efforts to reverse many of the critical missteps of the Trump-era rulemaking and highlights additional areas for regulatory action under Title IX to help battle sex discrimination in all its forms.

A copy of the comment letter is below.

“Our students deserve a safe learning environment that is free from violence and discrimination,” said AG Healey. “We commend the U.S. Department of Education for restoring these critical protections under Title IX and recommend additional steps to make this rule as strong as possible so that student’s voices are heard, and our educational institutions can ensure equitable access.”  

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Education suddenly drifted from more than 30 years of consistent implementation of Title IX to imposing a troublesome and harmful new process for Title IX sexual violence and harassment proceedings in schools. The department publicized new rules that work to drastically change how Title IX is enforced, and these rules simultaneously weaken protections for individuals subjected to sexual violence and harassment and burden schools with duplicative, courtroom-like Title IX proceedings.

The 2020 amendments also force unnecessary hurdles to student survivors seeking relief unique only to sexual harassment. AG Healey joined a partnership of eighteen states which subsequently filed a lawsuit that challenged the previous federal government’s final rule in an effort to protect students and empower schools to ensure equal opportunity on their campuses. 

The states firmly support the current efforts by the U.S. Department of Education to end many of the hurt imposed by the 2020 rule by creating complete standards for Title IX that better meet its primary objectives. These standards include providing individuals with effective protection against sex discrimination and harassment and to make sure that federal funds are not used to support misconduct.