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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2010
2:24 PM

CONTACT: ACLU

Maria Archuleta, ACLU national, (212) 519-7808 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org
Marjorie Esman, ACLU of Louisiana, (504) 522-0628

Hearing Begins Wednesday on Sex Segregated Public School in Louisiana

ACLU Representing Family Fighting Policy at Middle School in Vermilion Parish

LAFAYETTE, La. - February 22 - In the first court hearing ever about sex segregation in coed public schools, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana will present witnesses and evidence Wednesday through Friday demonstrating that the school board in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana illegally discriminated against both boys and girls by segregating classes by sex at a public middle school. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two girls who were placed in single-sex classrooms at Rene A. Rost Middle School, the only middle school in the city of Kaplan, Louisiana. 

Two weeks before school opened in the fall of 2009, parents of students at Rene A. Rost Middle School were informed that all five core-curriculum classes in all four grades would be segregated by sex. The ACLU objected to the mandatory sex segregation policy on behalf of two students and informed the school district this was illegal. The school district amended the plan to offer a nominally coed option and told parents they could select coed or segregated classes for their children. However, parents soon learned that the only "coed" option was a class for students with special educational requirements.

The ACLU contends that sex segregation in public schools violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Title IX regulations of numerous federal agencies and the U.S. Constitution.

The ACLU's complaint is available online at: www.aclu.org/womensrights/edu/40947lgl20090908.html

WHAT:
Evidentiary hearing in Doe v. Vermilion Parish School Board, a challenge to sex segregation in a public middle school in Louisiana

WHO:
Lenora Lapidus of the ACLU Women's Rights Project, Katie Schwartzmann of the ACLU of Louisiana and Debevoise & Plimpton attorneys led by partner Mark Friedman will present witnesses and evidence before U.S. District Court Judge Richard T. Haik

WHEN:
Wednesday, February 24 - Friday, February 26
Hearing starts daily at 10:00 a.m. CST

WHERE:
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
Suite 2100
800 Lafayette Street
Lafayette, Louisiana

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.



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