A North Carolina charter school is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider an appeals court ruling that the school violated female students’ constitutional rights by requiring them to wear skirts.
In June, a majority of the full U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the dress code at Charter Day School in Leland violated female students’ equal protection rights. The court’s majority concluded that since public charter schools receive public funds they’re "state actors" and subject to the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
In its petition, the school asks the Supreme Court to "review and reverse" the 4th Circuit’s decision, arguing that it’s a privately run school that receives public funding through its charter, and therefore it’s not a government-run entity, The StarNews reported.
School officials said in a news release Monday that the decision threatens the model.
"This holding undoes the central feature of charter schools by treating their private operators as the constitutional equivalent of government-run schools," school officials said.
North Carolina state law protects charter schools as independent institutions exempt from rules and regulations applicable to public school districts, the school argued.
School founder Baker Mitchell has said the dress code was intended to create a "code of conduct where women are treated, they’re regarded as a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of and honor." For now, the dress code has been changed to allow girls to wear pants in line with the court ruling.