North Carolina: Court Rules That Skirt Requirement At Leland Charter School Is Unconstitutional

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A court of appeals judgment has overturned a decision to require female students at a Leland charter school to wear skirts.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit decided 10-6 that the clothing code at Charter Day School in Leland is a violation of Title IX, a federal provision that protects students in public institutions from gender-based discrimination.

In the year 2000, the school opened its doors to students in kindergarten through eighth grade with the goal of promoting “traditional values.”

A complaint was launched against Charter in 2016 by the guardians of three female students who claimed that the school’s dress policy, which forbade female students from wearing shorts or trousers, discriminated against their daughters and other students.

In 2019, a district judge decided that the school had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution as a state actor.

Last August, it was appealed to a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal, which decided 2-1 against it.  The Title IX federal safeguards for students in public schools from gender-based discrimination were referred back to the district court by a panel. The district court found that dress codes are exempt from Title IX’s requirements, but the entire Court of Appeals reversed that decision by a vote of 10-to-6.

When girls couldn’t wear trousers to school like the boys, they were denied educational chances and suffered “emotional and dignitary harm,” the Richmond-based appeals court stated in its verdict on Tuesday.

Although Roger Bacon Academy is a privately managed charter school, the court maintained the district court’s ruling that it is a state actor and hence subject to the Equal Protection Clause.

When CDS implemented a skirt requirement based on evident gender stereotypes about the “proper place” for girls and women in society, it acted in a flagrant violation of the Equal Protection Clause, according to the court finding.


Featured Image Credit: A federal judge ruled that Charter Day School’s skirt-only uniform policy for girls was unconstitutional. (Port City Daily photo/file photo), https://portcitydaily.com/local-news/2019/03/29/federal-court-rules-against-charter-day-schools-skirt-requirement-for-girl-students-calling-them-unconstitutional/