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Carroll Independent School District v. United States Department of Education

Description:  The Biden administration’s unlawful rewrite of Title IX will force schools—including the 11 located in Carroll Independent School District in Texas—to impose widespread harms on young people and deny free speech on campus. 

A student writing in a textbook
Friday, Jul 12, 2024

FORT WORTH, Texas – A federal district court ruled Thursday to immediately halt the Biden administration’s illegal rewrite of Title IX while the lawsuit Carroll Independent School District v. United States Department of Education moves forward. This is the fourth injunction that Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have obtained to stop the administration’s unlawful rule. The lawsuit is the fifth legal action ADF attorneys have brought to stop the administration’s effort to redefine “sex” in Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for female students in education and athletics. ADF attorneys are representing Carroll Independent School District.

On April 19, the administration announced it would redefine “sex” in Title IX rules to include “gender identity,” requiring schools to ignore the biological distinction between male and female in favor of “an individual’s sense of their [sic] gender.” As ADF attorneys explain, the Department of Education’s fundamental and radical rewriting of federal law forces schools across the country to embrace a controversial gender ideology that harms children—including the very children it claims to help. Carroll Independent School District adopted a resolution denouncing the rule change, emphasizing that the rule could “jeopardiz[e] the safety and well-being of students.”

“Carroll Independent School District is right to seek to preserve safety and privacy for the girls—and all students—under its supervision,” said ADF Legal Counsel Mathew Hoffmann. “The Biden administration’s radical redefinition of ‘sex’ in Title IX upends our education system and ignores biological reality, science, and common sense. This dangerous and unnecessary rule change will have devastating consequences for students, teachers, administrators, and families. This court has joined other courts around the country in questioning the legality of the Biden administration’s attempt to undo the privacy, safety, and equal opportunities Title IX provides.”

As ADF attorneys explain in the lawsuit, schools will have to allow males who identify as female to enter girls’ private spaces like restrooms, locker rooms, and showers and—despite logically inconsistent disclaimers saying otherwise—to play on girls’ sports teams. The new rule also requires the school district to enforce policies restricting students’ and employees’ free-speech rights.

“Oral argument made clear that the Final Rule functionally displaces the statutory language ‘on the basis of sex’ with ‘on the basis of gender identity.’ Despite repeatedly stressing that no redefinition of sex exists in the Final Rule, in the same breath [the Department of Education] claim[s] there is no material way to distinguish between sex and gender identity,” the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, wrote in its order. “This suggests both concepts are one in the same despite the representation that the Final Rule does not redefine sex away from biological. [the Department of Education] failed to adequately explain how the binary definition of ‘sex’ (as inherently objective and tethered to biology) is somehow consistent with the fluid notion of gender identity (inherently subjective and untethered from biology).”

Carroll Independent School District, with a student body of approximately 8,400, is located in Southlake, Texas, and operates 11 schools for students from pre-K to 12th grade. The new Title IX rule will impact all of the schools and students.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Mathew Hoffmann

Mathew Hoffmann serves as legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is a key member of the Center for Academic Freedom. Before joining ADF, Hoffmann clerked for the Honorable Robert J. Luck of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and served as an associate at Jones Day. Hoffmann earned his J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2018. He graduated summa cum laude and served as an editor for the Notre Dame Law Review. He is a 2016 Blackstone Fellow. Before law school, Hoffmann graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science with honors in chemistry and a double major in government.