USDE Delays Final Title IX Rules to October 2023 (May 30, 2023)

On Friday, May 26, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) pushed back its planned May release of both the final Title IX athletics and the broader Title IX rules until October 2023. The five-month delay change comes on the heels of the USDE having received more than 390, 000 comments during the one-month comment period, which ended on May 15th.

In fact, more than 240,000 public comments were received on the broader proposed Title IX rule, which would for the first time protect LGBTQ+ students under the federal anti-sex discrimination law. That number of comments are nearly twice as many as the USDE received during its last rulemaking on Title IX.

In addition, the USDE’s athletics regulation proposal received over 150,000 comments during the one-month comment period. Although that proposal would prohibit blanket bans of transgender students in athletics, it would allow schools to exclude transgender students from playing on sports teams aligning with their gender identities under some circumstances.

The new release date changes timelines for districts that were anticipating a potential fall implementation date for either or both of the new rules.

Both sets of rules are expected to be heavily litigated, regardless of their final form.

To read the official USDE blog, click here.

Other source, K-12 Dive.

Amid Rising anti-Semitism, USDE DCL Reminds Schools of Obligations Under Title VI (May 30, 2023)

In the wake of rising antisemitism in schools, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) reminded districts in a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) issued May 25, 2023 that they must address harassment and discrimination based on race, color or national origin. The USDE’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) may investigate complaints of anti-Semitic harassment or discrimination under Title VI if districts fail to do so, according to the letter. 

“Schools must take immediate and appropriate action to respond to harassment that creates a hostile environment,” said Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary at the Office for Civil Rights, in the letter. “Title VI protects all students, including students who are or are perceived to be Jewish, from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.”

Lhamon defined a hostile environment in the letter as “harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.”

Click here to access the DCL.

USDE Releases Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in K-12 Public Schools (May 26, 2023)

On May 15, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) made public updated guidance to provide information on the current state of the law concerning constitutionally protected prayer and religious expression in public schools. The principles outlined in the guidance are similar to the USDE’s 2003 and 2020 guidance on constitutionally protected prayer in public schools and with guidance that President Clinton issued in 1995. The USDE’s Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice have verified that this updated guidance reflects the current state of the law concerning constitutionally protected prayer in public elementary and secondary schools. This updated guidance has been made available on the USDE’s website at

USDE and HHS Announce Proposed Rule Change and Accompanying Guidance for School-based Medicaid Billing (May 21, 2023)

On May 18, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), made a joint announcement regarding a proposed rule and a much-anticipated guidance update for school-based Medicaid billing. The announcement said that the Biden Administration is “taking action to make it easier for schools to provide critical health care services, especially mental health services, for millions of students across the nation” through a more streamlined Medicaid billing permissions and reimbursement process for students with disabilities.

As a result, the USDE predicts that of the 500,000 new students who are found eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B each year, nearly 300,000 are likely to be eligible for Medicaid and impacted by the new rule. In addition, HHS is issuing new guidance to make it easier for schools to bill Medicaid.

Specifically, the proposed rule recommends eliminating a provision in the IDEA that requires one-time parental consent before schools file first-time invoices for school-based specialized services for children eligible for public benefits under Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or other public insurance and benefits programs. USDE is instead releasing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under IDEA that would streamline consent provisions when billing for Medicaid services provided through a student’s individualized education program (IEP). This would result in a uniform process applicable to all Medicaid enrolled children, regardless of disability. 

Importantly, the proposed changes do not alter any of the critical parental consent provisions required by IDEA nor do they impact the parental consent obligations under the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA). Additionally, the proposed rule does not alter the requirement that IEP services must be delivered at no cost to the child’s family, the requirement that IEP services cannot diminish other Medicaid-reimbursable services, nor Medicaid’s position as payor of first resort for IEP and Individualized Family Service Plan services. Rather, this regulatory change would help cut unnecessary red tape that schools and districts face in billing Medicaid and meet their obligations to ensure students with disabilities receive a free, appropriate public education in accordance with their IEP.

The comment period for the proposed rule change in IDEA for parental consent for Medicaid billing ends August 1, 2023.

To view the announcement and access the Comprehensive Guide to Medicaid Services and Administrative Claiming – PDF, click here.

PA Members of Congress Intro Bipartisan Safe Interactions Act (May 20, 2023)

On May 18, 2023, three Pennsylvania members of Congress – Rep.Susan Wild, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, and Senator Bob Casey – teamed up to introduce the Safe Interactions Act – a bipartisan bill to improve interactions between law enforcement officers and people with disabilities and mental health needs. This legislation will provide enhanced trainings to our police officers on working with and communicating with those in crisis, to help make our communities safer.

The Safe Interactions Act would provide grants to enable non-profit disability organizations to develop training programs that support safe interactions between law enforcement officers and people with disabilities. The training would be directed to both new and veteran officers and would include people with disabilities in the training as instructors. It would also establish an advisory council, chaired by a person with a disability, to oversee the training program development and implementation.

The Washington Post database of police shootings estimates that at least 25 percent of shootings involve a person with a mental health disability, and a Ruderman Family Foundation report found that 33 to 50 percent of all use-of-force police incidents involve people with mental health disabilities – making the Safe Interactions Act a key step in addressing the disproportionate incidences of violence involving law enforcement and people with disabilities.

Reps. Wild and Fitzpatrick introduced the bill in the House and Sen. Casey introduced the bill in the Senate.

Click here to read more about this bill.