"But isn't it just a form of segregation?"
In June 2011, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ruled in a case brought by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the Breckinridge County Board of Education
after the Breckinridge County Middle School (BCMS) began offering optional single-sex classes at that school. Students were given the choice of attending either coed or single-sex classes.
The ACLU attorneys asserted that there is no more justification for "segregating" boys from girls than there is for racial segregation, and that "mere exposure" to single-sex classrooms would be harmful to students,
even if the students themselves were in coed classrooms. You can read the full text of the final ruling in this case in PDF format by clicking here.
Judge Charles Simpson, writing for the United States District Court, ruled that the ACLU's argument
The Breckinridge Ruling
". . . finds no support either in law or in the record of this case. No legal authority supports the conclusion that optional single-sex programs in public schools are ipso facto injurious to the schools' students.
Unlike the separation of public students by race, the separation of students by sex does not give rise to a finding of constitutional injury as a matter of law. . . (p. 6)
Offering parents a choice between single-gender and coed classrooms, or between single-gender schools and coed schools,
is not segregation. It's choice. Critics of single-sex format like to argue that "separate can never be equal", referring to the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education.
But Black parents in the South in the Jim Crow era had no choice in the matter. Those were segregated schools. Critics who liken schools like the one in Breckinridge Kentucky to schools in the South during the Jim Crow era are either ignorant
of the law, ignorant of the facts, or deliberately trying to mislead.
The Supreme Court has never held that separating students by sex in a public school - unlike separating students by race - or offering a single-sex public institution is per se unconstitutional.
[Judge Simpson then cites three Supreme Court decisions: US v. Virginia; Mississippi Univ. for Women v. Hogan; and Vorchheimer v. School District of Philadelphia , in support of this point.] (p. 7)
. . .Equivalent educational opportunities do not mandate identical classroom experiences. (p. 12, emphasis added)
. . .Finally, we feel compelled to address the plaintiffs' haphazard wielding of certain emotionally charged terminology in their briefs. The plaintiffs contend that students were "classified" or "segregated" by sex.
This contention is belied by the record. BCMS did not "classify" or "segregate" its students. Rather, BCMS afforded parents the option of selecting a single-sex or coeducational classroom environment for their children.
To "segregate", as that term has been used historically, means "to cause or force the separation of (as races or social classes) from the rest of society or from a larger group," Webster's Third New International Dictionary (2002).
At BCMS, the single-sex or coeducational classrooms were not forced upon students. The choice was left to the discretion of parents, and participation in either classroom format was wholly voluntary.
The plaintiffs' bald assertions of "classification" and "segregation" are nothing more than a vain attempt to cast a pall of unconstitutionality over the BCMS program.
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