The single-gender classes debate continues in West Virginia and leading the debate is one Wood County school.
Van Devender Middle School is currently the only school that still offers single-gender classes, against the wishes of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of West Virginia.
"The ACLU is concerned about the legality of this, it’s discriminatory," says ACLU Executive Director Brenda Green. "
The Chairman of the National Association of Single Sex Public Education Governing Board Dr. Leonard Sax says this is not discrimination if a school offers parents more choice.
In fact, Sax points out that federal courts in Kentucky last year throughout a case where the ACLU was saying single-gender classes where illegal.
"The court said the use of the words segregation and discrimination is wrong as a matter of law. This is neither segregation or discrimination if the school districts offers parents more choice," says Sax. "Segregation in American law, the federal court said, is involuntary."
Green says if the teaching methods for the boys classrooms and the girls classrooms are different, that is discrimination.
The idea behind single-gender classes involves the thought of boys learning differently than girls do. If boys study with boys and girls study with girls, better learning environments are created. Green disagrees with this thought.
"There are different learning styles, but there’s no proof that it’s based on gender," says Green. "That there’s any real difference between the way little girls learn and little boys learn."
Sax says not all boys and girls do well in single-gender classes since every kid is wired differently, but that doesn’t mean parents can’t have the option to put their kids in a single-gender classroom.
"We believe public schools should offer this choice," says Sax.
In the past 10 to 15 years, more and more West Virginia schools had been offering this choice to parents, until the ACLU got involved in the past couple years. Since then, most schools got rid of single-gender classrooms after pressure came from the ACLU to stop the classes.
Sax says what the ACLU is doing is harassment and bullying and proof that the ACLU doesn’t care what parents think.
"The ACLU has no interest in what West Virginia parents think, their not putting on this show for West Virginia," says Sax. "Their putting on this show for their donors in New York City and southern California."
Van Devender Middle School believes single-gender classes do not violate Title IX and plan to go to court with the ACLU over the issue.