Blog

Court Throws Out Title IX Challenge to Primary School's Dress Code

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 09, 2019 | 0 Comments

A federal court in North Carolina recently threw out a Title IX claim that made a novel argument of sexual discrimination in the school setting: Dress codes for girls.

Female Students File Title IX Claim Over Dress Code

The plaintiffs in the case were young girls who claimed that their primary school, Charter Day School, was violating their Title IX and constitutional rights by requiring that they wear skirts, while boys at the co-ed, public charter school were allowed to wear shorts or pants. Specifically, the school's dress code required female students to wear “skirts, skorts, or jumpers,” while boys were required to wear “shorts or pants.”

According to the girls in the case, the dress code “forces them to wear clothing that is less warm and comfortable… and, more importantly, restricts [their] physical activity.”

According to the charter school, the dress code reflects the “traditional values” that the school was designed to uphold.

The girls filed a civil rights lawsuit, claiming both a violation of Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Court Throws Out Title IX Claim

Before the case went very far, though, the court threw away the portion that claimed a violation of Title IX.

The court found that the regulation 34 CFR § 106.31(b)(5) used to prohibit sexual discrimination “in the application of codes of personal appearance” – a provision that would have been the basis for a challenge to a school's gender-defined dress code under Title IX.

However, way back in 1982, the Department of Education changed that regulation: In 47 Fed. Reg. 32526, the Department of Education cut out section (b)(5). It supported this decision by claiming there were no signs that Title IX was meant to address appearance and dress codes, that the Department of Education's time and resources would be better spent on “more serious allegations of sex discrimination,” and that appearance and dress codes in schools would be better “resolved at the local level.”

Removing this provision from the regulatory framework of Title IX, in the eyes of the Eastern District of North Carolina, was a strong indication that dress codes were outside the gambit of Title IX's prohibition against sexual discrimination. Furthermore, “in thirty-five years, Congress has never overridden [the Department of Education's] interpretation of the [Title IX] statute,” serving as another strong sign that Title IX did not apply to dress codes.

While the court allowed the girls' claim under the Equal Protection Clause to continue, it ended their argument that Title IX was being violated with an emphatic shake of the head.

National Title IX Advisor Joseph D. Lento

Joseph D. Lento is a national Title IX advisor and defense lawyer who represents students who have been accused of sexual misconduct on college or school grounds. The process is often confusing, and a negative outcome in your case can lead to serious and long-term repercussions. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686 for the legal help and guidance you need.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at universities and colleges across the United States while concurrently fighting in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, and New Jersey. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand universities and colleges across the United States. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website.  In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County.  In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County,  In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties.  Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law.  The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship.  The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu