The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has concluded that Connecticut’s schools and athletic conference violated Title IX with their transgender-participation policies by discriminating against female athletes.
OCR director Timothy C.J. Blanchard issued a Letter of Impending Enforcement Action dated May 15 against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and six public school districts after they failed to enter into voluntary agreements to “remedy the identified violations.”
The CIAC and school districts violated Title IX in that they “treated student-athletes differently based on sex, by denying benefits and opportunities to female students that were available to male students,” said the 45-page letter.
The CIAC and the six school districts—Glastonbury, Bloomfield, Hartford, Cromwell, Canton and Danbury—were given until June 4 to align their policies with Title IX.
The investigation cited multiple complaints from parents about two unnamed transgender students, identified as Student A and Student B, who were top performers in girls’ track meets from 2017-19. Student A had previously competed on the boys’ track team.
“Nothing in this letter should be interpreted to impute misconduct on the part of any biologically male students who participated in these competitions,” said the OCR letter.
In a Thursday statement, CIAC insisted it was following state law, saying that “Connecticut law is clear and students who identify as female are to be recognized as female for all purposes–including high school sports.”
“To do otherwise would not only be discriminatory but would deprive high school students of the meaningful opportunity to participate in educational activities, including inter-scholastic sports, based on sex-stereotyping and prejudice sought to be prevented by Title IX and Connecticut state law,” said the statement.
The conference noted that the same issues are being adjudicated in a lawsuit filed earlier this year by three female athletes represented by the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom.
“The CIAC looks forward to obtaining a ruling about whether Title IX prohibits states from permitting transgender females from participation in girls high school track and field events after the facts and legal considerations have been fully presented and reviewed,” said the CIAC statement.
ADF legal counsel Christiana Holcomb cheered the outcome of the OCR investigation, saying that, “Girls shouldn’t be reduced to spectators in their own sports.”
“I am extremely happy and relieved to learn that OCR found the CIAC and the school districts violated Title IX,” said Chelsea Mitchell, one of the athletes represented by ADF, in a statement. “It feels like we are finally headed in the right direction, and that we will be able to get justice for the countless girls along with myself that have faced discrimination for years.”
The Justice Department sided in March with the parents and female student-athletes in a statement of interest filed in federal court.
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