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Case Name Doe v. Wood County Board of Education ED-WV-0001
Docket / Court 6:12-cv-04355 ( S.D. W. Va. )
State/Territory West Virginia
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
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 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. 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 was forced to comply with the requirement of complete voluntariness under the Department of Education regulations. 888 F. Supp. 2d 771 (S.D.W. Va. 2012) 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 the 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.

On July 3, 2013 the parties entered a Consent Decree, with defendant denying any liability for sex discrimination in violation of federal law. The Consent Decree prohibited the Defendant from providing any Single-Sex Activity not in accordance with the Court’s interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and Title IX requirements, as presented in the Opinion and Order on August 29, 2012, for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year, as well as the school years through 2015. If the defendant sought to initiate a Single-Sex Activity not exempted in the Decree at any public school during the school years between 2015 and 2018, the Defendant would be forced to provide the plaintiff with at least 120 days notice prior to initiating the Activity. The plaintiff retained the right to visit the School, so long as she provided 5 days notice, to ensure the school was acting in accordance with federal law and the Consent Decree, for the five year duration the Decree was in effect. The Consent Decree awarded the plaintiff $65,000 in attorneys fees and an undisclosed sum of damages.

In accordance with the Consent Decree, the plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion to dismiss the case with prejudice on July 29, 2013. On August 6, 2013, the judge granted the motion, incorporating the consent decree.

The Court’s jurisdiction over the Consent Decree, as well as the Court’s Permanent Injunction will terminate on July 4, 2018.

Emma Bao - 06/12/2013
Mackenzie Walz - 10/25/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Classification / placement
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Van Devender Middle School
Wood County Board of Education
Plaintiff Description A mother and her three daughters attending a middle school that separated girls and boys for certain courses in certain grades.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2013 - 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Montgomery Public Schools
http://www.bazelon.org
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Blackman. v. District of Columbia
http://www.bazelon.org/blackman-v-district-of-columbia/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  S.S. v. Springfield Public Schools
http://www.bazelon.org/springfield-massachusetts-school-system/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Doe v. Pasadena Unified School District
http://www.bazelon.org/doe-v-pasadena-unified-school-district/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  A.J. v. Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools
http://www.bazelon.org/a-j-v-cesar-chavez-public-charter-schools-et-al/
Date: 2017
By: Bazelon Center (Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
Date: Sep. 17, 2008
By: United States Department of Education—Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
6:12-cv-4355 (S.D. W. Va.)
ED-WV-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/06/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint
ED-WV-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/15/2012
Source: ACLU
Order [Denying Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order] [ECF# 24] (S.D. W. Va.)
ED-WV-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/20/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion for Preliminary Injunction] (888 F.Supp.2d 771) (S.D. W. Va.)
ED-WV-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/29/2012
Source: ACLU
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion to Dismiss] [ECF# 66] (S.D. W. Va.)
ED-WV-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/15/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 93] (S.D. W. Va.)
ED-WV-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/08/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Goodwin, Joseph Robert (S.D. W. Va.)
ED-WV-0001-0001 | ED-WV-0001-0003 | ED-WV-0001-0004 | ED-WV-0001-0005 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brandt-Young, Christina (New York)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Forman, Roger D. (West Virginia)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Harris, Marissa P. (District of Columbia)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-0005 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Hartman, Joshua A. (District of Columbia)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-0005 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Henry, Roxann E. (District of Columbia)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-0005 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Katz, Amy Lynn (New York)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Lapidus, Lenora M. (New Jersey)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Rogers, Sarah (West Virginia)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-0005 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Sherwin, Galen (New York)
ED-WV-0001-0002 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Boone, Aaron C (West Virginia)
ED-WV-0001-0005 | ED-WV-0001-9000
Kent, Robert J (West Virginia)
ED-WV-0001-0005 | ED-WV-0001-9000

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