Supreme Court punts charter school case upholding lower court decision

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a case involving a North Carolina charter school’s dress code.

Charter Day School v. Peltier, centered around parents and students who challenged the school’s requirement for girls to wear skirts. That non-decision essentially upholds the lower court’s ruling that the dress code policy must be changed. The appeals court determined that the dress code violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Ostensibly the case is simply about a dress code dispute but this particular case was watched very closely by education advocates and legal experts because it essentially determined that charter schools are “state actors” due to their public funding. The decision comes at a crucial time because many charters have begun to straddle the legal line between public and private institutions.

The ALCU has argued that charter schools should be treated the same as public schools under the law.

“Girls at public charter schools have the same constitutional rights as their peers at other public schools – including the freedom to wear pants,” said Ria Tabacco Mar, Director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “We will continue to fight for all girls to learn in safe and equal schools.”

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