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Louisiana Court Hears Sex Segregation Case

On Wednesday, A federal court in Louisiana began hearing a case regarding sex-segregated classes in coeducational public schools. This is the first time a court has heard such a sex-segregation case, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU filed the sex segregation lawsuit in September 2009 against the Vermilion Parish School District in Louisiana. The complaint (see PDF) was filed on behalf of the unnamed parent of two students who claim they were denied equal opportunity for co-educational classes at Rene A. Rost Middle School after being assigned to single-sex classrooms. According to the complaint, “Plaintiff Joan Doe was told that if she wanted to attend co-educational classes, those classes would be held with the ‘special needs’ section, which is not being segregated on the basis of sex” and that “Plaintiff Jill Doe attempted to enroll in co-educational classes at Rene A. Rost and was told that the classes were ‘full,’ and that she must maintain a sex-segregated schedule.” The school district’s superintendent Randy Schexnayder told the media last year that about 25% of students at the middle school are in co-educational classes and that single-sex classes are voluntary. The ACLU Blog of Rights argues that “It is indeed unlikely that any sex segregation within a coed school can be acceptable under Title IX, which was intended to prohibit sex-based distinctions among students in the same manner that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited race-based classifications.” It continues, “The real world does not segregate men from women. A public school environment that teaches that males and females are so fundamentally different that they must be educated separately does all children – and ultimately society – an injustice.”

Sources:

Jane Doe v. Vermilion Parish School Board; American Civil Liberties Union 2/24/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/10/09

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