The ACLU and Equal Educational Opportunity: A Sampler of Successes - Map
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See Alaska v. Planned Parenthood, 28 P.3d 904 (Alaska 2001).
Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Educ. (2005) The ACLU Women\'s Rights Project submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of girls\' basketball coach Roderick Jackson, who was fired after asking the school district for the same facilities and equipment as the boys\' team. The brief argued that Title IX protected Jackson against such retaliation for complaints of sex discrimination, and the Supreme Court agreed.
Gender Equity Bill Passed In response to a pattern of sub-standard municipal fields for girls\' softball, and after successfully litigating several cases that used the athletics equity principles developed in Title IX litigation to ensure that towns and cities provided equal municipal athletic programs for boys and girls, the ACLU of Southern California was instrumental in helping pass the Gender Equity for Community Athletics Bill (AB 2405) in 2004. The new state law applied Title IX principles to municipal athletic programs and led to the formation of "Raise the Bar," Los Angeles\' first program addressing girls\' equity in sports.
Camacho v. City of La Puente (2004) In the city of La Puente, the girl\'s softball league played on two substandard fields behind a local elementary school, while the boys\' Little Leagues played at two well-maintained and well-lit fields set aside for their exclusive use. The ACLU of Southern California won its sex discrimination case against the City of La Puente.
Cecilia G. v. Antelope Valley Union High School District (2004) The ACLU of Southern California represented Cecilia, a teenage mother at Antelope Valley High School, who was removed from regular classroom instruction and placed in "study hall" in order to receive child care while pursuing her education. The ACLU of Southern California argued that the substandard education Cecilia received in "study hall" violated Title IX, and the school district ultimately settled.
Simpson v. University of Colorado (2006) The ACLU Women\'s Rights Project, in cooperation with the Racial Justice Program, and joined by the ACLU of Colorado, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Lisa Simpson and Anne Gilmore, two women who were sexually assaulted by University of Colorado football players and recruits while they were students at the school. The ACLU brief argues that the University is liable under Title IX for the sexual assault of Ms. Simpson and Ms. Gilmore because the University was on notice of a pattern of sexual assault and harassment in the football program and acted with deliberate indifference to the ongoing culture of hostility and abuse of women.
Davis v. Monroe Country Board of Educ. (1999) In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that school districts may be liable under Title IX for student-to-student harassment if they are aware of the problem and act with "deliberate indifference" rather than trying to solve it. The ACLU Women\'s Rights Project joined in a friend-of-court brief before the Supreme Court in support of the student who was sexually harassed.
Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes Damages Children's Education In 2005, the ACLU of Kentucky and the ACLU Women\'s Rights Project successfully discouraged implementation of a single-sex program in Kentucky by sending a letter to Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Stephen Daeschner arguing that the school district\'s plan to turn the Southern leadership Academy into an all-boys school and Iroquois Middle into an all-girls school risked reinforcing sexual stereotypes that are damaging to children\'s education. Discrimination Against Female Referees is Unacceptable In the 1980s, the ACLU of Kentucky successfully represented women referees who were discriminated against by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
Canterino v. Wilson (1982) The court found that the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (KCIW) violated Title IX when it provided vocational programs available to women inmates inferior to corresponding vocational programs in men\'s prisons.
Chipman v. Grant County Sch. Dist. (1998) As a result of the ACLU\'s Title IX lawsuit, two high school students were admitted to their school\'s National Honor Society after initially being rejected due to one being pregnant and the other being a mother. The school system agreed to stop deeming pregnancy as evidence of moral failure.
Selden v. Livingston Parish Sch. Dist. (2006) When Southside Junior High School announced plans to teach girls and boys separately based on theories that claimed they learn differently, the ACLU of Louisiana and the ACLU Women\'s Rights Project filed suit, citing Constitutional and Title IX violations. The next day, the school scrapped their plan to segregate students by sex.
Draper v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (1993) The ACLU of Massachusetts represented Niles Draper and the Chatham High School field hockey team in a challenge to an MIAA rule that prevented the team, which had one boy - Draper - on its roster, from playing against all-female teams. The ACLU of Massachusetts won the case, obtaining a court order finding that the rule violated the state\'s Equal Rights Amendment.
Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee (2007)-- In 2007, the ACLU of Massachusetts and the ACLU Women\'s Rights Project submitted a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in a case raising important issues about the liability of a school system for its inaction after being notified of student-on-student sexual harassment. The ACLU argued that the school district violated Title IX when it failed to take action after learning that a five-year-old student had been seriously and repeatedly sexually exploited by an older student on the school bus and when the child\'s parents were thus forced to take her off the bus and remove her from other school activities to protect her safety.
Thomka v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (2007) In the fall of 2005, Lindsey Thomka, a junior at Cathedral High School in western Massachusetts, helped lead her golf team to the state western regional tournament. However, under MIAA guidelines, although Lindsey was allowed to play as a member of the team in the boy\'s tournament, her gender disqualified her from playing as an individual in that tournament. The ACLU of Massachusetts sued the MIAA, and a Superior Court judge ruled that the MIAA\'s practice of forbidding girls to compete as individuals in the tournament violated the state constitutional guarantee of equal rights.
Wing v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (1989) Gateway Regional High School\'s soccer team was on its way to the state\'s regional championship tournament when the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) ruled that Gateway could not play in the tournament because a girl, Nikki Wing, played on the team. Gateway had no girls\' soccer team at that time, and Nikki had always played on boys\' teams. Utilizing Title IX precedent, but litigating primarily under the state Equal Rights Amendment, the ACLU of Massachusetts achieved an injunction on behalf of Nikki and her soccer team that allowed the team to compete in the MIAA western regional tournament, and go on to place second in the statewide tournament.
Male Cheerleaders Allowed to Compete In 2006, in a letter to the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA), the ACLU of Michigan and more than 600 other signers urged the association to reform new regulations that would ban male cheerleaders from any post-season cheerleading competition. After attorneys from the ACLU of Michigan met with the MHSAA, the organization allowed the Plymouth-Salem-Canton coed cheerleading team to participate in the national competition.
Equal Education Opportunities Guaranteed In 2006, the ACLU Women\'s Rights Project and the ACLU of Michigan won important safeguards against sex discrimination, including a requirement that equal educational opportunities be offered to any student excluded from a single-sex program on the basis of his or her sex, as the state legislature amended state laws to permit sex-segregated schools and classes in some circumstances.
Garrett v. Board of Educ. of School Dist. of City of Detroit (1991) In August 1991, three all-male academies offering curricula on "male responsibility" were scheduled to open in Detroit. In response, female students sued the Detroit School District for violating state and federal laws by excluding girls from these academies, including Title IX. The court agreed that Title IX had been violated, and found that the academies did not require an all-male atmosphere in order to foster student success.
Interactive Workshops on Title IX In Summer 2003, the ACLU of Eastern Missouri kicked off its new Title IX Project, "Don\'t Drop the Ball on Title IX," which provides interactive workshops for students, teachers and administrators about their rights to be free from sex discrimination in athletics under Title IX.
Manzur v. Missouri State University (2006) The ACLU settled a lawsuit with Missouri State University filed on behalf of four female tennis players whose team was eliminated for the 2006-07 school year in a budget-cutting move.
Kennelly v. MSU-Bozeman (1999) As a result of this ACLU Title IX case, Montana State University (MSU) changed its athletic program by increasing the budget for women\'s athletic teams, adding women\'s golf and ski teams, and increasing scholarships for female athletes, thus ensuring that female student athletes received the same opportunities as male student athletes.
Ridgeway v. Montana High School Ass\'n (1988) The Ridgeway case, brought by the ACLU of Montana, was one of the first Title IX athletics cases in the country and the first case in which girls sued a state High School Activities Association in a statewide challenge to the Association\'s discriminatory rules (including rules addressing the number of sports offered to girls and the seasons in which girls\' sports were played) and the Association\'s practice of permitting member schools to discriminate against girls. Several large high schools were also sued; the ACLU alleged discrimination against girls in virtually every aspect of their athletics programs, including quality of coaching, uniforms, practice schedules, number of sports offered, transportation to games, school assemblies, etc. The ACLU of Montana successfully settled the case and ultimately forced every school in the state to afford equity in sports to girls.
Brochure Explaining the Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Teens Published In 2001, the ACLU of North Carolina put out a brochure titled "Rights of Pregnant & Parenting Students in North Carolina" explaining how pregnant and parenting mothers can remain in school, what rights they have, what public school may not do under the law, and where to turn if you are a student that has been discriminated against on the basis of pregnancy.
"No Girl Wrestlers" Policy is No More In 2002, Erica Smith, a 7th grader, was prevented from competing in the regional wrestling competition because of a "No Girl Wrestlers" policy. After the ACLU of Nebraska contacted the public school superintendent, and the ban on female wrestlers was lifted.
Quinn v. Tabernacle (2003) The Women\'s Rights Project, in and the ACLU of New Jersey investigated a case of inequitable treatment of girls\' softball and boys\' baseball in Tabernacle, New Jersey. The ACLU successfully negotiated more equitable policies for girls\' use of municipal fields in the future.
Guide to Girls' and Women's Equal Participation in Sports Published In 2000, as part of its Girls and Women in Sports Initiative, the ACLU of Ohio published Put Me in Coach! The Right of Girls and Women to Participate Equally in Sports. The booklet, updated in 2002, provides an overview of applications of Title IX to school athletics programs, tips on how to assess a school\'s compliance, and a guideline of what steps you can take if your daughter encounters discrimination in athletic programs.
Sally Can Come Out and Play, Judge Rules In 1977, Sally Allen, a 17-year old, was initially dropped from the Millwood High School baseball team because of a school rule forbidding coed participation, but was later allowed to try out for the team after successful representation by the ACLU of Oklahoma.
Sex Discrimination in Basketball In 1977, the ACLU of Oklahoma also successfully represented Cheryl Lynn Jones, a junior guard on the girls\' basketball team at Northeast High School, in challenging a school policy that required girls to play basketball by different rules than boys. The policy was found to violate the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX.
Bellum v. Grants Pass (2003) The ACLU Women\'s Rights Project, the ACLU of Southern California, and the ACLU of Oregon, represented the girls\' softball league in Grants Pass, Oregon in a lawsuit based on Title IX principles that sought seeking to require the City to provide the same quality fields and amenities for girls\' softball that it did for boys\' baseball. The case settled when the City agreed to provide the girls\' softball team a home field and to make extensive improvements to that field.
Atkinson v. Lafayette College (2003) When Eve Atkinson, the Director of Athletics for Lafayette College, raised concerns about the college\'s compliance with Title IX, she was threatened by her supervisor, stripped of many of her duties, and then terminated. The ACLU Women\'s Rights Project and ACLU of Pennsylvania joined a friend-of-the-court brief to the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, arguing that the right to be free from gender discrimination necessarily includes the right to be protected from retaliation for reporting gender discrimination.
C.B. v. Central Dauphin School District (2007) A.C. is a sixteen-year-old student at Central Dauphin East High School in Pennsylvania. A.C. is also a mother of a two-year-old boy who is sometimes forced to miss school to take her son to doctor\'s appointments or to provide back-up child care. The school will not excuse A.C.\'s absences; therefore A.C. is subject to criminal prosecution for violation the state\'s truancy laws. The ACLU Women\'s Rights Project and the ACLU of Pennsylvania are currently litigating the case against the school district citing violations of Title IX, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Pennsylvania state constitution.
Abstinence-Only Sex-Education Discontinued In 2006, the ACLU of Rhode Island persuaded the state to discontinue a flawed sex-education curriculum that promoted abstinence until marriage and advised girls to "wear modest clothing that doesn\'t invite lustful thoughts."
Cohen v. Brown University (1996) Brown University violated Title IX when the school demoted the women\'s gymnastics and volleyball team from university-funded status to donor-funded status, but did not demote any of the men\'s teams. The ACLU of Rhode Island filed a friend of the court brief in support of the plaintiffs in this case successfully challenging Brown University\'s athletic program as sex-discriminatory in violation of Title IX.
In re Johnston School Athletic Program (1977) The ACLU of Rhode Island favorably settled a Title IX complaint alleging that the Johnston School District provided unequal athletic opportunities and facilities for girls.
Faulkner v. Jones (1995) No woman had ever been admitted to The Citadel, an all male cadet school in South Carolina, until the fall of 1993 when Shannon Faulkner applied and was accepted. Shannon\'s admission was revoked when the school discovered she was a woman. With the help of ACLU Women\'s Rights Project attorneys, Shannon was ultimately able to enroll and attend The Citadel, opening the door for women to attend the military college.
Workman v. Spanish Fork (2004) Candace Workman, a fourteen-year-old female wrestler and reigning national champion, was barred from entering a wrestling tournament in Spanish Fork, Utah after officials received complaints that some boys were dropping out of the tournament because they were scheduled to wrestle her. The ACLU of Utah wrote a letter to the city demanding that Candace be allowed to wrestle and arguing that, under Title IX, it is illegal for private wrestling clubs to use state buildings and funds to discriminate. The town rescinded its discriminatory policy and allowed female wrestlers to compete in future tournaments.
Litman v. George Mason University (2004) Ms. Litman was expelled from George Mason University after complaining about a professor who sexually harassed her. The ACLU Women\'s Rights Project, partnering with the ACLU of Virginia, joined a friend-of-the-court brief arguing for the right to bring retaliation claims under Title IX as a necessary part of the right to be free from discrimination; the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit agreed with this reading of the law.
School Nurses Given Green Light to Administer Medications to Students In 1998, students in Seattle were being denied access to medication by school nurses - specifically, medications for post-abortion treatment and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. After the ACLU of Washington\'s intervention, the district revised its rules allowing nurses to administer the medications.
Title IX Student Guide Published In 2000, the ACLU of Washington published The Rights of Public School Students in Washington State. The guide explains students\' legal rights in school, including rules regarding sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and pregnancy.
Darrin v. Gould (1973) Carol and Delores Darrin joined the all-male varsity football team at their high school, but were banned from playing in any games with boys. The ACLU of Washington won a Title IX lawsuit on Darrins\' behalf, opening high school varsity sports to women.
Iversen v. Kent School District (1998) As a junior high and high school student, Mark Iversen was severely harassed by fellow students because of his sexual orientation. School administrators knew this but did not take the problem seriously. The ACLU of Washington successfully sued under Title IX and the school board settled, paying Iversen $40,000.
Malloy v. US Amateur Boxing, Inc. (1993) Dallas Malloy, an amateur female boxer, was denied the opportunity to compete in boxing matches by U.S. Amateur Boxing. The ACLU of Washington sued under Title IX claiming gender discrimination, and the boxing federation agreed to change its discriminatory policy. Malloy went on to win the first sanctioned amateur match between female boxers in Washington State.
Challenging Sex-Segregated Schools On March 9, 2006, the ACLU of Wisconsin challenged the decision of Arrowhead Unified High School to offer boys-only and girls-only classes in the 2007 school year. The ACLU of Wisconsin issued a media release and sent a letter to District Administrator David E. Lodes, demanding an explanation of the legal basis and rationale for implementing sex-segregated classes and arguing that single-sex education violates Title IX. The ACLU continues to monitor implementation of this program.