ACLU Challenges Unlawful Sex-Segregated Classrooms

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Kentucky filed an amended complaint on behalf of five families last month against the Breckinridge County Middle Schools, asserting that instituting sex-segregated classes is both illegal and discriminatory. The ACLU lawsuit expands on a previous KY lawsuit to include the U.S. Department of Education, arguing that its 2006 changes to Title IX regulations allowing schools increased flexibility in implementing single-sex classes and programs is also illegal.

Until November 2006 Title IX regulations prohibited single-sex education unless it was implemented to overcome sex discrimination or met narrowly defined exceptions, such as contact sports. However, the 2006 final regulations issued by the Department of Education loosened Title IX regulations significantly. Currently, single sex programs are permitted as long as they achieve “an important governmental or educational objective.”

The ACLU lawsuit claims that sex-segregation violates the 14th Amendment, Title IX, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act. While ACLU has fought other cases regarding single-sex education in school districts, this is the first case to directly challenge the 2006 regulations.

For additional information check out FMF’s revised Sex Segregation page and key chapters 9 and 31 in the FMF sponsored Handbook for Achieving Gender Equity through Education.


ACLU 5/19/2008, U.S. Department of Education, Feminist Majority Foundation

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