DC Schools: No policy change for all-male high school, despite ACLU claims

- D.C. Public Schools says no changes have been made to the admittance policy at an all-male college prep school, despite claims by the ACLU that a decision has been reached allowing female students to apply.

On Monday, the ACLU of the Nation's Capital issued a press release stating that the Ron Brown College Preparatory School-- originally known as The Empowering Males High School-- would begin accepting female students. 

"By opening up these important programs to girls as well as boys, DCPS has done right by both the Constitution and the neediest children of the District," ACLU of the Nation's Capital Executive Director Monica Hopkins-Maxwell said in a press release. "The Constitution prohibits sex discrimination, and as our report demonstrated, both boys and girls of color in DCPS suffer from poor outcomes as compared to their white classmates."

But a short time later, D.C. Public Schools issued the following statement:

"DC Public Schools has made no policy change in regards to Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, the new all-boys school. In School Year 2016-2017, the school is serving more than 100 young men in its freshman class. The application period for School Year 2017-2018 will open in a few months, and we look forward to serving another class of outstanding young men at this school designed for the specific needs of young men. At the same time, DCPS continues to provide and expand the opportunities to meet the unique needs of our female students."

The plan for the school was announced in 2015. The school itself opened earlier this year in D.C.’s Deanwood community at the site of what was formerly Ron Brown Middle School.

On Monday afternoon, the D.C.'s Office of the Attorney General released this statement about the school:

"Since the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) issued its opinion last year supporting the legality of the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School and other portions of the D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) Empowering Males of Color Initiative, we have met and spoken with the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU) on several occasions to discuss our respective views of the law. To this end, OAG had a call last Friday with the ACLU to respond to questions they posed about the initiative. Our office is disappointed that the ACLU has inaccurately characterized details of that conversation.

"As DCPS has made clear, they have not made any policy change with regard to admissions to Ron Brown. Contrary to suggestions by the ACLU, OAG did not say that the admissions policy had changed, nor did our office say that DCPS has any plans to change that policy in the future.

"Furthermore, the Attorney General has not changed his view that Ron Brown and other parts of the Empowering Males of Color Initiative are consistent with the protections of the Constitution and civil rights laws."

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