• Veronica Tadross

Single-Sex Schools Pay to Discriminate

Despite the backlash I received, I still stand firmly in my belief that Chaminade High School and other all-boys schools should accept women. In fact, there have been many times I have wished I could do more than just write about this problem- which would be difficult, as this exclusion is just immoral, not currently illegal. However although single-sex education is legal, at a closer look, it is apparent that these schools have been dodging certain legislation, and may have even more to evade in the future.

Title IX of the Civil Rights Act forbids discrimination, however only applies to public organizations and private companies that are “public accommodations,” such as hotels, restaurants, and movie theaters. Private schools only have to follow anti-discrimination laws if they receive federal funding or tax exemptions. So does Chaminade fall into either of these categories?- the answer is no. I found this surprising because usually religious societies such as the Society of Mary remain tax exempt, so they can pursue their vocation without intervention. However, NYDatabases.com reveals that Kellenberg Memorial High School is tax exempt, however Chaminade pays taxes, presumably because this allows them to be free from anti-discrimination laws and only accept boys. If they did take federal financial aid and/or tax exemptions they could only discriminate insofar as their religion justifies it. Under those conditions they would have to prove that only accepting boys is an expression of their religion, making them more vulnerable to legal intervention. There have been a few court cases in the past in which federally funded private schools have been sued for discrimination, because such treatment wasn't warranted by their religion. In fact, without Chaminade's multiple levels of legal protection, it is possible that much of society would consider their exclusion of women immoral. If they were a public school, or a movie theater or even a restaurant, excluding women would be seen as wrong. How is it more important to have equality in a movie theater than an institution forming our future leaders? More importantly, why are we letting the law guide our morals when it is really that our morals should be guiding the law? If our forebearers justified law with law, white males would still be the only ones voting. Although Chaminade may be able to get away with accepting only men today, it is still possible that they will begin to walk on thin ice in the future. Each state’s Department of Education often offers scholarships to students attending private schools, and President Trump has begun programs that offer more federally funded scholarships to private school students. When students attend a school with such a scholarship, that school will be bound by anti-discrimination laws. So does Chaminade accept students funded this way? And if they don't yet, would they have the option to turn down federal scholarships to maintain their all-boys status? Honestly, I don’t know. Despite these legal blocks, it is still possible that all-boys schools or even all single-sex schools are someday indicted for discrimination. Because everything that is now illegal was legal at some point- the reason things go from legal to illegal is because people start to realize they’re immoral.

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