Scott Tibbs

A bad and dangerous ruling on school uniform policy

By Scott Tibbs, July 7, 2023

The Charter Day School in Leland, North Carolina (now known as Classical Charter Schools of Leland, or CCSL) has about 1000 students in grades K-8. The local school system, the Brunswick County School District, has about 12,500 students in grades K-12. No one is required to attend CCSL and the student handbook and policies are on the school's website.

Any family that disagrees with the school's uniform policy (or any other policy) could easily send their child or children to the public school system instead. The entire controversy over "forcing" female students to wear skirts could have easily been avoided by not attending CCSL in the first place.

This could have easily been solved had state government in North Carolina implemented the following law: By enrolling your child in CCSL, you are consenting to the school uniform policy. Since you have consented to the uniform policy by enrolling, you do not have legal standing to sue the school to get the policy revoked. The child, who us under the authority of her parents, would also not have standing to sue the school.

One could make an argument that a school uniform policy is "unconstitutional" at the government-run schools, due to compulsory attendance laws and the fact that some families might not be able to afford an alternative. That is obviously not the case here. But even then, boys and girls are different. In a time when egalitarianism did not make truths such as that verboten, a sex-specific dress code would not have been seen as violating the 14th Amendment.

Where this really gets dangerous is if it applies to private Christian schools that take vouchers. Government bureaucrats and politicians have long lusted after the power to micromanage private schools, and Christian schools often have sex-specific dress codes. With government money comes government strings, and vouchers give the state the ability to use those strings as leverage. The danger to religious liberty is why I have opposed vouchers for three decades.

This is a bad ruling, and we need stronger protections for both private schools and charter schools to operate as they see fit without meddling by bureaucrats, politicians and activist judges. This meddling threatens to negate the entire reason that consenting adults choose to send their children to private schools or charter schools. Why should "pro-choice" not apply to the operations of these schools?

Opinion Archives

E-mail Scott

Scott's Links

About the Author