WV federal judge accepts agreement in single-sex classes case - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV federal judge accepts agreement in single-sex classes case

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A West Virginia federal judge has accepted a proposed settlement agreement in a case alleging a Wood County middle school separated certain classes by gender.

According to court documents, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin rejected the first proposed settlement agreement in the July 1 motion hearing but accepted the second settlement agreement.

Goodwin also granted a joint motion to seal attachments to the consent decree and compromise and settle claims

The ACLU of West Virginia filed the suit on behalf of a Parkersburg mother and her three children who attend Van Devender Middle School. The suit was filed against the Wood County Board of Education, alleging girls and boys of certain grades were separated in reading, math, social studies and science courses.

In addition to different teaching methods, the suit alleges the classrooms' atmospheres differed. In the boys' classroom, the suit further stated, lights were brighter, the temperature was cooler and boys were allowed to move around in class.

The suit asserted the girls' classroom was "dimly lit," was warmer and that girls were not allowed to move around in class.

The mother alleges the differences in classrooms make it difficult for her daughters to learn.

One of the plaintiff's daughters, the suit alleges, has attention deficit disorder and is "frequently reprimanded" for moving around in class. The plaintiff alleges that several times, her daughter has been "punished" for misbehaving by being sent to the boys' classroom.

In August of last year, the federal judge ordered school officials to stop separating students into single-sex classes for the remainder of the 2012-13 school year.