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US District Court dismisses Reach Academy suit

Delaware Public Media

A US District Court judge has thrown out a gender discrimination suit against the state filed by the soon to be shuttered Reach Academy for Girls.

In an opinion released Thursday, Judge Leonard Stark says that charter schools do not have to exist in equal numbers when they segregate by sex. Reach is the only public, all-girls charter school in the state and it argued it would leave a gap that would be legally unequal.

Stark says those educational opportunities still exist for those students in traditional public or other charter schools.

The school, largely African American, also claimed the decision was racially motivated, but Stark found no evidence of purposeful discrimination despite a disproportionate impact on the community.

Last year, the Delaware Department of Education failed to renew Reach’s charter due to poor test scores, but a federal judge ruled that the school would stay open for the 2014-2015 school year.

Reach later reapplied to renew their charter, but state Education Secretary Mark Murphy didn’t recommend that course of action to the state Board of Education.

The school will close at the end of this school year.

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