Supreme Court Blocks North Carolina Charter School From Forcing Girls To Wear Skirts

Supreme Court Blocks North Carolina Charter School From Forcing Girls To Wear Skirts

The Supreme Court had to step in and shut down one North Carolina charter school’s attempt to force girls to only wear skirts.

On Monday, June 26, 2023, a federal appeals court ruled that the Charter Day School’s dress code violated students’ constitutional rights, according to the Associated Press. The public charter school claimed the dress code was intended to promote “chivalry” by the male students and respect for the female students, according to the school’s founder, Baker Mitchell.

However, justices declined without comment to hear an appeal from the school that operates independently but is listed as a public school under North Carolina state law and receives 95 percent of its funding from the government, NPR reports.

Charter Day School says the rule helped to “emphasize traditional values” where girls would wear skirts, jumpers, or skorts to preserve the idea that a woman is a “fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor.”

But parents of the female students filed a lawsuit saying the ruling was rooted in gender stereotypes and discriminated against female students by limiting their ability to fully participate in school activities. The suit cited the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law and a federal anti-discrimination law known as Title IX.

Charter Day School argued the school was not subject to the equal protection guarantee since it is a private institution fulfilling a contract with the state of North Carolina, not a public entity. It also claimed the Title IX law didn’t apply to sex-based dress codes.

But in June 2022, an appeals court ruled against the school saying it was in “clear violation” of the Constitution.

“Innovative programs in North Carolina’s public schools can and should continue to flourish, but not at the expense of constitutional protections for students,” Judge Barbara Keenan said at the time.

The school teaches students from kindergarten through eighth grade. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools applauded the Supreme Court’s ruling, The New York Post reported.

“We are pleased to put this matter behind us and move forward,” Nina Rees, president and CEO of the group, said.

“The actions of the high court affirm that as public school students, charter school students are entitled to the same federal protections as their counterparts who attend district schools.”


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