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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Tadross

Mary Isn't Welcome at Chaminade High School

How would you respond if I told you that single-sex schools were just as immoral as racial segregation? Maybe you would agree with me. You may tell me I'm exaggerating. If all-boys schools existed this long without opposition they must be well-intentioned, right? Well, if you think again, you might be surprised. Really, really surprised.

To clarify, I am not saying that our era is nearly as discriminatory or dehumanizing as the time period of racial segregation. African-Americans at this time experienced horrible treatment I could never imagine, and there is unfortunately still racism today. I am saying that if any private schools excluded students of different races today, it would be considered, and would be, discriminatory. There is no reason that we should have a different standard for what is discrimination for gender.

Linda Brown was born in the 1940s, a difficult time for many African-Americans. When she reached the fragile age of a third grader, she was denied admission to Sumner Elementary, an all white school which was much closer to her home and provided a much better education than the all African-American school. Her father sued the school district, and eventually in Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court banned segregation in schools and established the principle that separate but equal is impossible. Today, single-sex private schools see gender separation as beneficial, because opposite genders can be "distracted" by one another. White people used to justify racial segregation by saying African Americans are a "distraction." George Washington initially excluded African-American men from the Continental Army because he thought white men would work better alone. Fast forward, when Frantz Elementary School began accepting African-American students in 1960 an angry mob tried to stop the new students from entering and "distracting" everyone else. Using the label of a "distraction" to exclude someone dehumanizes him or her, blatantly disregarding his or her well-being. Ultimately, kicking out one group just so another is less triggered promotes superior and inferior roles in society. Single-sex schools are different because they're separate but equal, right? That's impossible. We sorted this out 80 years ago. As many of you probably know I go to Kellenberg Memorial High School (KMHS) in Uniondale, NY. Nearby, Chaminade High School, an all-boy institution run by the same religious brothers as KMHS, offers more languages, more prestigious extracurriculars, a fancy science center, and several other amenities that are not open to any young woman on Long Island. To get an education close to this, a girl's parents would have to pay a ridiculous sum of money to send her to high school over 90 minutes away. All-boys schools will be much better the majority of times, because they have been around for longer and have higher endowments due to having more working alumni. Banning girls from a higher level school just because boys will learn more effectively without this "distraction" promotes superior and inferior roles in society, further disadvantaging women in schools, the workplace, and society. They are all connected. Chaminade is run by the Society of Mary, but if Mary descended from Heaven, they would tell her she's not the right gender to attend the school! Would Mary really want this? Would any woman want this? Before these private schools strive for the morality that they preach everyday, they need to dismiss their meaningless intuitions, and recognize that a breach of morals is occurring within their own ranks.

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