Top court stops North Carolina School’s skirt dress code for Girls
The US High Court has left in place a lower court decision ruling that a North Carolina school cannot require its female students to wear skirts.
A US federal court found last year that the school had violated the constitutional rights of its female pupils with its uniform rules.
The Charter Day school, in the city of Leland, appealed against the ruling all the way to the country’s top court.
The justices declined without remark to hear the appeal.
The school’s dress code has already been changed to permit young girls to wear trousers.
According to court documents, Baker Mitchell, the school’s founder, had argued the skirts were intended to maintain “chivalry”, describing the word as “a code of conduct where women are regarded as a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor”.
He added that the policy would ensure female students were treated “courteously and more gently than boys”.
But a group of parents challenged the policy, saying it put their daughters at a disadvantage compared to their male counterparts.
The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, finding in June 2022 that the dress code violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which prevents arbitrarily discriminatory laws from being enacted.
Writing the majority opinion, Senior Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan said Charter Day’s dress code could perpetuate “stereotypes with potentially devastating consequences for young girls”.
Funded by taxpayers but independently managed, charter schools make up a small fraction of the US school system.