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AG Shapiro: Trump Administration Should Suspend Efforts To Rewrite Policy on Sexual Assault, Harassment at Schools

March 27, 2020 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG― With Pennsylvanians and schools nationwide addressing the COVID-19 virus, Attorney General Josh Shapiro is leading efforts with 17 other Attorneys General to stop the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to implement proposed Title IX rules that threaten protections at K-12 schools, colleges, and universities across the nation. The U.S. Department of Education proposed rule changes to Title IX in 2018.

In a letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought and others, the Attorneys General are asking for the suspension of the rulemaking process until these institutions resume normal operations.

“Schools are closed across the country and school administrators are focused on getting students access to learning, their teachers, and testing to finish out the school year. Amidst this chaos, the Trump Administration must suspend its plan to cut key protections for students who are victims of sexual harassment and assault,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “I have been on the front lines with campus safety advocates to express serious concerns about these proposed Title IX rules. It would be disgraceful for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and Department of Education to push an agenda that jeopardize survivors of abuse and student safety—while everyone else is rightfully focused on COVID-19.”

With at least 124,000 public and private schools—representing over 93 percent of all K-12 institutions—closed or planning to close, and more than 1,100 colleges and universities are temporarily closed and transitioning to remote learning, the Attorneys General said prudence is the proper response.

“Finalizing the proposed rule now would … cause significant confusion about ongoing Title IX complaints and investigations, which have already been disrupted by the sudden closures and social distancing requirements,” the letter reads. “With everything our schools and students are facing right now, we strongly urge you not to impose further substantial regulatory burdens.”

Attorney General Shapiro is leading 17 other Attorneys General in the letter to DeVos, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

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