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Single Sex Classes and Schools

Single Sex Classes and Schools

Single Sex Classes

The Title IX statute generally prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance.  However, section 1681(a) of Title IX contains two limited exceptions for single sex classes or activities within schools that are otherwise coeducational. 

  • Any program or activity specifically intended for the promotion of Boys State conference, Boys Nation conference, Girls State conference, or Girls Nation conference
  • Father-son or mother-daughter activities

These exceptions are allowable only if opportunities for reasonably comparable activities are provided for students of the other sex.

In addition, the Office for Civil Rights regulations contain two categorical exceptions for specific types of classes or parts of classes that may be segregated by sex.

  • Physical education classes during participation in contact sports
  • Parts of classes that deal with human sexuality

The Office of Civil Rights recommends consultation with legal counsel prior to offering single-sex classes.

Single Sex Schools

Title IX does not apply to admissions policies of non-vocational elementary and secondary schools as long as such policies do not cause students, on the basis of sex, to be excluded from, or denied the benefits of, an educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.  For example, students of the opposite sex must have access to a comparable school, with a comparable curriculum, that is also single sex.  However, there are other legal implications, and districts may be challenged in court.

The Office of Civil Rights recommends consultation with legal counsel prior to offering single-sex schools.

For more detailed information, please see Guidelines Regarding Single Sex Classes and Schools and Questions and Answers on Title IX and Single-Sex Elementary and Secondary Classes and Extracurricular Activities