North Carolina charter school’s skirt requirement for girls is unconstitutional, court rules


June 14 (Reuters) – A North Carolina charter school’s requirement that girls wear skirts on the grounds that they are “fragile vessels” deserving of “gentle” treatment by boys is unconstitutional, a a federal appeals court said Tuesday.

The 4th United States Circuit Court of Appeals reigned 10-6 that Charter Day School violated the equal protection rights of three female students by enacting the skirt policy based on gender stereotypes of girls’ “proper place” in society.

The school has a dress code in place which, in an email and testimonial, said its founder, businessman Baker Mitchell, “preserves chivalry” and ensures girls are treated “with courtesy and more gently than the boys”.

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The Brunswick County state-funded school argued that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution did not apply to it because it was a private entity and not a a “state actor”.

But US Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan said it has been since North Carolina delegated her duty to provide free and universal education to students. A contrary ruling would mean North Carolina could ignore the “blatant” discrimination, she said.

The court in Richmond, Va., also allowed the students to sue under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education.

The decision “is a victory for students in North Carolina who attend public charter schools and should put charter schools across the country on notice that they must follow the same rules as traditional public schools when it comes to to ensure equal educational opportunity for students,” Galen said. Sherwin, the student advocate at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Aaron Streett, the school’s attorney, called the decision “misguided and prejudicial,” saying it contradicted U.S. Supreme Court precedent and “limited parents’ ability to choose the best education for their children.” their children”.

The six dissenting votes all came from Republican-appointed judges.

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston, editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Aurora Ellis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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