On August 15, 2012, a mother and her three minor daughters filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, against the Wood County Board of Education and Van ...
read more >
On August 15, 2012, a mother and her three minor daughters filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, against the Wood County Board of Education and Van Devender Middle School. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from the ACLU and private counsel, sought declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief. They alleged that the School's single-sex education program approved by the Board violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The three daughters were students who were subject to a program dividing boys and girls into separate classrooms for certain subjects and educated them with distinct teaching methods. The plaintiffs claimed that their school experiences were adversely affected by the physical differences between the boys' and girls' classrooms and the gender-differentiated teaching techniques.
On August 20, 2012, the District Court (Judge Joseph R. Goodwin) denied the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order. The Court noted that two important issues needed further development in this case, which were the voluntariness of the single-sex classes and the availability of substantially equal coeducational alternatives at the School.
Judge Goodwin held a preliminary injunction hearing on August 27, 2012, and on August 29, 2012, granted a preliminary injunction to the plaintiffs. Doe v. Wood Cnty. Bd. of Educ., 888 F. Supp. 2d 771 (S.D.W. Va. 2012). The injunction banned single-sex classes at the School for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year and until the school's program met the requirements of the Constitution and Title IX. Particularly, the school must comply with the requirement of complete voluntariness under the Department of Education regulations. Evidence showed that the students were involuntarily placed in the relevant school program and could only opt out, but the School failed to provide parents and guardians with timely notice and procedural instructions about opt-out option.
On October 15, 2012, the Court granted in part and denied in part the defendants' motion to dismiss the case. The Court dismissed all plaintiffs' claims against the individual defendants in light of their entitlement to qualified immunity and the redundancy of the claims. Hence, the Board remained as the only defendant in the case. The case is ongoing. Emma Bao - 06/12/2013