Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice.
Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit to compel the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to release information about their decision to withdraw guidance detailing the protections transgender students have under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bans discrimination in education on the basis of sex. After the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice rescinded the guidance in February, Lambda Legal filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for documents and communications on the decision to withdraw the guidance.
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have failed to comply with the FOIA requests and have not released a single document to Lambda Legal.
Issued in 2016 during President Obama’s Administration, the guidance reaffirmed that Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and clarified for schools and districts their responsibilities to protect transgender students under Title IX.
In addition to requiring schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, the guidance provided clarification on name and pronoun use, privacy, dress codes and protection of students from bullying and harassment.
- February 22, 2017: Departments of Education and Justice send a “Dear Colleague” letter to public school districts withdrawing the guidance issued the previous year.
- March 13, 2017: Lambda Legal files FOIA requests for documents related to the decision, including correspondence with any groups outside the government, communications with the President’s staff, and instructions to staff about how to handle inquiries and complaints about discrimination, bullying and harassment based on gender identity or transgender status.
- April, 2017: Despite acknowledging receipt of the requests, the Departments of Education and Justice failed to turn over any of the documents requested.
- August 22, 2017: Lambda Legal files a federal lawsuit to compel the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to release information about their decision to withdraw guidance.