Between 2006 and 2015, Middleton Heights Elementary placed girls and boys in separate classrooms, based on an education theory that the sexes learn differently.
But according to the American Civil Liberties Union, this was a violation of Title IX, and the Department of Education recently agreed.
“Well the issue is definitely not new," says Leo Morales from the ACLU of Idaho, "and it’s an issue that the ACLU across the country has been looking at for years.”
As part of a national initiative, the ACLU filed a complaint in 2012 against the Middleton School District. The complaint cited smaller class sizes for boys over girls, as well as different emphasis placed on competition versus collaboration depending on a student’s sex.
Morales says besides being illegal, the education theory the district used to justify the practice amounted to pseudoscience.
“When the reality is that kids have different learning styles, and very unique different styles that isn’t and doesn’t necessarily correlate with their gender.”
According to a statement from district Superintendent Josh Middleton, the schools no longer separate girls and boys in classrooms and has no intention of bringing back the practice.
Under the agreement with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, the Middleton School District will remain under supervision through 2020, and staff will be trained on Title IX. Other schools districts in states including Maine and Alabama have been targeted by the ACLU for similar issues.
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