A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a North Carolina charter school requiring that girls wear skirts based on the idea that they are “delicate pots” deserving of “gentle” treatment by boys is unconstitutional.
The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 10-6 that Charter Day School violated the equal protection rights of three female students by adopting a skirt policy based on gender stereotypes about a “fair place” for girls in society.
The school enforced a dress code that its founder, businessman Baker Mitchell, said in an email and testimony would “preserve decorum” and ensure that girls were treated “submissively and more gently than boys. “
The state-funded school in Brunswick County 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 institution, not a “state actor.”
But US Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan said it is one since North Carolina entrusted its duty to provide free, universal education to students. A reverse ruling would mean North Carolina could ignore the “obvious” discrimination, she said.
The Richmond, Virginia-based court also allowed students to make claims under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education.
The ruling is “a victory for North Carolina students attending 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 guaranteeing students equal educational opportunities.” When it comes to giving,” Galen said. Sherwin, student attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The school’s attorney, Aaron Street, called the decision “incorrect and harmful”, saying it contradicts the US Supreme Court’s precedent and “limits parents’ ability to choose the best education for their children. “
The six dissenting votes were all from Republican-appointed judges.