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Complaint Filed Over School Event Only Allowing Girls and ‘Gender Diverse’ Students

Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

On Tuesday, parental rights organization Parents Defending Education filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against a school district in Pennsylvania for hosting STEM events only open to “girls and gender diverse students.”

According to documents obtained by PDE and shared with Townhall, Lower Merion School District in Ardmore, Pennsylvania will host an academic event called “the inaugural Girls+ STEM Night.” The event is meant to “expose younger girls and gender diverse students to various STEM-related careers and fields in hopes that it will spark an interest to pursue science, technology, engineering and math inside and outside of the classroom” and promises to hold future events of the same nature. 

“By its plain terms…only some students may attend this school program. It excludes others — and this exclusion is based solely on an individual’s sex,” PDE noted. “As for the future ‘girls and gender diverse’ programming and networking opportunities, that too would confer a benefit on the basis of sex not offered to all students.”

The letter outlining the complaint notes that discrimination on the basis of sex violates Title IX, which declares that  “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

"Discriminating against a group of students based on sex is unconstitutional and all such instances of discrimination should be examined with a fine-toothed comb. Every student deserves the same opportunities to thrive and be challenged through STEM-related programming and Lower Merion students are no exception. This is the second OCR complaint we've filed against this district in the last month. The district clearly needs to weed out the bad apples who put these policies in place,” PDE Vice President Caroline Moore said.

Previously, PDE filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Office for Civil Rights after a public high school in Massachusetts restricted auditions for a school play for students who identify as people of color, which Townhall covered. Last month, the organization unveiled documents that exposed a school district in Kansas for hiding students’ gender transitions from parents. 

And, earlier this month, documents uncovered by PDE revealed that one of the country’s top public high schools, located in Fairfax, Virginia, reportedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars from groups affiliated with China’s military. 

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