Doe v. Wood Cnty. Bd. of Educ.

888 F. Supp. 2d 771 (S.D. W. Va. 2012)

 

RULE:

"Voluntary" is an act done by design or intention. The actor must do something—in other words, complete an affirmative act. The phrase "by design or intention" indicates that the actor must have decided upon the act that was taken. In other words, the definition of the word "voluntary" suggests that one cannot be said to have agreed to something voluntarily if they have not taken an affirmative act to agree to it.

FACTS:

This case arises from the single-sex program adopted by Van Devender Middle School ("VDMS") in a commendable attempt to improve the education of its students. On August 15, 2012, the plaintiffs filed this action alleging that the single-sex classes at VDMS violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, as interpreted by the United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Education in their respective regulations,. On the same day, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction

ISSUE:

Are the plaintiffs entitled to enjoin the defendants from segregating  based on sex, as well as enjoin the implementation of any gender-based training techniques at the school?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court holds today that the option to opt out of a single-sex education program does not satisfy the requirement under the 2006 United States Department of Education regulations that single-sex programs be "completely voluntary." The plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their Title IX claim because requiring parents to opt out of single-sex classes does not make the program completely voluntary. Rather, affirmative assent by the parents is required. The plaintiffs are likely to suffer irreparable harm absent preliminary relief. The balance of equities tips in the plaintiffs' favor. The court sees no reason to enjoin the defendants from implementing single-sex education programs and single-sex classrooms as long as they are acting within the boundaries set by the Constitution and Title IX; it is only to the extent that VDMS's current single-sex program violates the law that the defendants must be enjoined.

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