Sept. 8, 2004 – The ACLU filed a lawsuit last Wednesday against a California school system on behalf of pregnant students who claim the schools pushed them into alternative programs that were little more than "study halls." According to the students, the required classes had little real instruction, let alone covered college-preparatory material. The ACLU cites Title IX, which bars any discrimination in public schools and the Fourteenth Amendment protecting equal protection and due process.
The suit, which may be given class action status, was filed against Antelope Valley Union Joint High School District and Los Angeles County Office of Education. The plaintiffs are two mothers, ages fifteen and seventeen. The ACLU estimates 120 students are experiencing similar conditions. Soly Perez, a fellow with ACLU of Southern California, told ABC News that students were being denied the right to a decent education. "Instead of providing these students with the opportunity to continue receiving the best education possible," Perez said, "administrators presented students with what amounts to a false choice between child care for their children and receiving a quality education."
California law requires that young parents enrolled in a government-funded program that provides day care and other services be given the choice between alternative and regular schooling.