Happy Birthday Title IX!
Welcome back to Chaise Lounge! As we wait with bated breath for the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson, CL will take a look at a variety of other issues that affect women, including the 50th birthday of Title IX. The most ironic issue is the fact that one school was trying to force girls to wear dresses while another school district is banning dresses for older girls. Make up your mind!
Title IX turns 50 - When will the Biden administration make its mark?
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Title IX, the federal law protecting everyone from discrimination in the publicly funded educational environment from sex discrimination turns fifty today. The law has a checkered history in the United States going from being ignored to becoming a political football these days. If you are a regular Chaise Lounge reader, then you might remember this article that reviewed the many ways that the Department of Education, under then-Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, weakened the law protections under the guise of making the bringing charges of sexual assault even more difficult.
Current Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona unveiled a “Dear Educator” rule this morning. The letter emphasizes protection for LGBTQI+ students under Title IX. This inclusion will rub up against recently passed laws in 15 states restricting the participation of transgender students in women’s sports. Expect lawsuits to be ripping through the courts as those states do not want to lose federal funding for their schools.
Many of us are waiting to see what the Biden administration is going to do about the changes that were made to the investigatory process changes made by Secretary Devos. Since those rules went into effect, the number of cases reported has decreased, most likely due to the difficulties that accusers face.
TSA agents not following their own policies, destroy breast milk
In the wake of the baby formula shortage, it is hard to believe that Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) agents are not following their own agency’s policies when it comes to breast milk. According to The 19th News, the problem has become dire enough that the Senate is looking into the problem. TSA’s own policies exempt breast milk from the 3.4 ounce limit on liquids brought onto airplanes. Additionally, ice packs necessary to keep the milk refrigerated are allowed. But some TSA agents haven’t received the memo, apparently, and are preventing parents from being able to save their milk.
Rapist granted full custody of 16-year-old daughter
In Lousiana, a 30-year-old man rapes a 16-year-old teenager and she becomes pregnant. She gives birth and takes care of the child for five years. At this point, the rapist, John Barnes, somehow finds out that he is a father and is granted 50/50 custody in spite of the fact that he raped the mother. The mother, Crysta Abelseth, filed criminal charges against Barnes in 2015, but nothing has ever happened with her case, and for some undisclosed reason the file is sealed. It turns out that the police department is a client of his business. Recently, Barnes took Abelseth back to court, and he was granted full custody of the now 16-year-old daughter because she gave the child a cell phone. And she was ordered to pay him child support!
This story is hard to believe, and hopefully, at her new court date with a new lawyer, Abelseth will be able to regain custody. But this story speaks volumes as to how women and sexual assault are treated in this country. We will keep an eye on this one for sure.
Wyoming abortion clinic intentionally set on fire
A new abortion clinic in Casper, Wyoming set to open in June was set on fire. The clinic, according to its website, is "strategically located so that people in areas of low access states such as western Nebraska, western South Dakota, and the southeastern corner of Montana will be able to more easily access health care services." The damage to the clinic has set the opening date back about six months. And with the Supreme Court’s decision ready to come down any moment on Dobbs v. Jackson, the timing couldn’t be worse, which I imagine is exactly the point.
North Carolina charter school can no longer require girls to wear skirts
Leaders of Charter Day School in Leland, North Carolina were attempting to promote chivalry as part of its social curriculum. However, they ran afoul of the law by requiring girls to wear skirts. Parents brought a lawsuit because their daughters were not able to use playground equipment or even participate in safety drills that require crawling on the floor without the girls worrying that boys would comment on their underwear or otherwise jeer.
The judges in the case ruled against the school noting,
“By implementing the skirts requirement based on blatant gender stereotypes about the “proper place” for girls and women in society, CDS has acted in clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause. We further hold that sex-based dress codes like the skirts requirement, when imposed by covered entities, are subject to review under the anti-discrimination provisions of Title IX.”
School in Texas bans hoodies and dresses for older girls
A school district in Forney, Texas has rewritten its dress code to ban any item of clothing with a hood and dresses for girls in grades 5 and above. According to the school district’s website, “The dress code gives the district a positive and distinctive identity and reflects the values of the schools and community. “
What I’m Reading
The New York Times shared an excellent multi-media piece this morning on the infiltration of crisis pregnancy centers into the reproductive health space. Take a moment to read and learn more about this topic as these fake clinics are growing by leaps and bounds, especially here in North Carolina.
A Special Project
A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece for the Women AdvaNCe blog and republished it on CL regarding my personal experience as the parent of an adult with chronic illness. We are not sure what happened over at Google, but over the past few months, the article has received many, many comments from parents in a similar situation looking for support. As a result, Women AdvaNCe will be hosting a series of workshops in November for North Carolina women who have a chronic illness and their caretakers. If you are someone who would be interested in participating, please drop me a line, and I will make sure that you receive information about the event as details emerge.