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ACLU Calls For Investigation Of Gender-Based Classes

MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) --  A civil rights group is calling for a federal investigation into single-gender classes in three Florida counties.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and its national organization said the classes in Broward, Volusia and Hernando counties violate Title IX, a landmark federal law barring gender discrimination in schools.

According to the organization, records show that teachers in the single-gender classes are instructed to use different techniques for boys and girls based on what the ACLU said is flawed science.

"These are the kinds of ideas that have historically been used to push boys and girls onto very different educational tracks and are exactly what anti-discrimination laws are supposed to protect parents and students from. ... Students in Broward, Volusia and Hernando counties should all have the same opportunity to learn in the way that best fits their need, regardless of their sex," Nancy Abudu, director of legal operations for the ACLU of Florida, said in a prepared statement.

The organization is also asking the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights to look into Stetson University's involvement in the Volusia County program.

A similar program in the Hillsborough County schools is already facing a challenge, according to the ACLU, and a similar complaint is being filed in Texas.

During the spring legislative session, Florida lawmakers approved new guidelines for gender-specific classes, requiring that school employees go through "professional development that includes scheduling and instructional strategies," though the curriculum isn't specified.

Districts are also supposed to report academic data from the programs back to the Florida Department of Education.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.


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