The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Maria Archuleta, ACLU national, (917) 892-9180 or (212) 549-2666;
Allison Neal, ACLU of Alabama, (334) 265-2754

ACLU Asks Alabama School Districts to Disclose Documents on Sex Segregated Programs

Sex Segregation in Public Schools Raises Serious Legal Questions, Says Group


American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Alabama today asked
eight Alabama school districts to make public any and all documents
relating to sex segregation policies in public schools from the past
two years. The request was made under the Alabama Open Records Act.

"There is no reliable evidence that
segregating students by sex improves learning by either sex, but what
we have seen is that these programs are inherently unequal for both
girls and boys," said ACLU of Alabama staff attorney Allison Neal.
"We've heard reports of sex segregated programs in public schools
across Alabama and want to make sure students are not illegally being
shut out of the best educational opportunities available simply because
of their sex."

The ACLU sent Open Records Act
requests to the following Alabama schools districts: Baldwin County,
Chilton County, Dothan City, Fayette County, Huntsville City, Lawrence
County, St. Clair County and Wilcox County.

The ACLU charges that sex segregated
classes in public schools may violate Title IX of the Education
Amendments, the Equal Education Opportunities Act and the U.S.
Constitution and that segregation inevitably leads to inequality.

Last May, the ACLU joined and
expanded a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education and the
Breckinridge County School District in Kentucky on behalf of several
families whose children attended a sex segregated public school. The
case claims that regulations issued by the Department in 2006
permitting sex segregated classes in public schools violate the
Constitution. In Breckinridge County Middle School, the most advanced
math class happened to be the all-girls' class, effectively barring
boys from attending the best math class in the school.

"We all want better education for
our children but segregating students by sex not only causes inequality
and discrimination but is also an empty promise for failing schools,
distracting from things we know work like more funding, smaller classes
and more teacher training," said Emily Martin, Deputy Director of the
ACLU Women's Rights Project. "Sex segregated programs don't make public
schools like private schools. When private schools offer better
opportunities, they do so because of their resources, not because they
are single-sex."

Publicity generated around a letter
the ACLU sent in November to the Mobile County School System unearthed
news of other single sex programs throughout Alabama.

The school districts have 30 days to respond to the ACLU's Open Records Act requests.

Attorneys who worked on the Open
Records request include Neal from the ACLU of Alabama and Martin and
Lenora Lapidus from the ACLU Women's Rights Project.

The ACLU's Open Records requests are available online at:

More information on the ACLU Women's Rights Project work on sex segregation is available at:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666