You see, 100 years ago, segregating boys and girls was commonplace in schools. Not only that, but girls took “girl classes” like home economics, while boys took “boy classes” like trigonometry. One would think that we’re past that by now.
One would hope so.
But clearly, this isn’t true everywhere. The Mobile, Alabama county school system went way over the line starting last fall (2008). From the ACLU’s site:
Without notifying parents, the Mobile County School System segregated by sex the entire student body of Hankins Middle School by sex for the 2008-2009 school year. The policy went so far as to bar boys and girls from even speaking to each other in school hallways.
Now, that’s bad enough. There were seven other schools in Mobile that had implemented gender segregation as well, all of them without even notifying the students’ parents. But at this one school — Hankins Middle School — there was a step that went even farther over the line.
Under the sex-segregation program at Hankins Middle School this year, teachers had been instructed to treat boys and girls differently. At a teacher training, teachers were informed that boys should be taught about “heroic behavior” but that girls should learn “good character.”
Segregating boys and girls and treating them differently? Doesn’t that sound like, oh, I don’t know, separate and unequal? Teaching only boys about heroic behavior, why? Is the impliction that girls can’t be heroes? Teaching only girls about good character, why? Implicity, because boys shouldn’t be expected to have good character?
But it gets worse. Check this tidbit out (emphasis is mine):
Teachers were told that male hormone levels directly relate to success at “traditional male tasks” but that when stress levels rise in an adolescent girl’s brain, “other things shut down.”
I can’t even believe that somebody thought this in this day and age, much less implemented this as a school-wide policy. But how can people expect children to learn how to deal with one another when they aren’t even given the opportunity to interact with the opposite gender? When they aren’t even treated as mental equals to one another? When they aren’t held to the same standards?
Now, before you get too outraged, the issue is already resolved. The ACLU fought this and won, overturning it, and causing all Mobile schools to reintegrate starting this fall. But there are, somehow, people pushing for these backwards-moving reforms. Remember what Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Don’t let people get away with things like this. Don’t let important things like this slide. It’s your freedom, it’s your life, and (regardless of your politics) it’s your country, too. Treat it with the high value it deserves.