Charter Day School, Inc. v. Bonnie Peltier

October 21, 2022

Question Presented to the Court: Can a public (charter) school’s imposition of a gendered dress code violate Title IX? According to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the answer is yes.

Summary of facts: Charter Day School, a private school in North Carolina, has dress code requirements specific to boys and girls. A parent successfully sued the school under Title IX, a federal law which prohibits discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the decision, holding that Title IX applies to the school and that it is a “state actor” because it receives government funding.

RFI’s position: The Fourth Circuit’s extreme expansion of the definition of “state actor” presents grave consequences for the many religious organizations that partner with the government to serve the public. For a religious entity, a state-actor designation poses an existential threat. Because the government must exercise its authority in a way that is religiously neutral, declaring the programs of a religious group to be “state action” forces the group to choose between secularizing those programs or ceasing to participate in state initiatives that support and fund them. In many cases, that means either denying the religious identity of their charitable programs or ending them.

Read the amicus brief here.