LAFAYETTE — A federal magistrate ruled Tuesday that the ACLU can amend its lawsuit against single sex classes in Vermilion Parish to include future students.
The Vermilion Parish School Board discontinued the classes for 2011-12 school year based on low interest from parents, but members have expressed support for future reimplementation.
“The program was temporarily suspended for this year only,” said Galen Sherwin, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. “We’re seeking to ensure that it is not resumed.”
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2009 challenging the separation of students by sex for core academic classes at Rene Rost Middle School in Kaplan. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Rost parent and her two daughters, identified as Jane, Joan and Jill Doe. The lawsuit claimed the classes violated students’ rights to an equal education and other federal laws.
Tuesday’s decision by U.S. Magistrate Michael Hill, enables the ACLU to amend its suit to include future students of the school, including Joan and Jill Doe’s sister who will attend Rost in the 2012-13 school year; and another mother, identified as Jane Washington, and three of her sons.
A decision on the Vermilion Parish School Board’s motion for dismissal of the amended claims will be considered next month, said Calvin “Woody” Woodruff, Vermilion Parish School Board attorney.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Richard Haik ruled the classes could continue in the 2010-11 school year under court supervision. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Haik’s ruling, but remanded the case back to the district court for consideration of claims raised in the ACLU suit.
A trial date to consider the merits of the claims is still scheduled for Jan. 9.