I was wondering if any of you had any experience with offering both a Boys and Girls Chorus in your public school. I know of schools who implement this with no problem, but I’m switching positions and my new administrators seem hesitant and have cited Title 9 restrictions. I’m not well-versed in the law; does anyone have any knowledge or resource suggestions regarding this? I thought if both were offered and running that the program would be both justifiable and legal. Any insight would be appreciated, thank you!
Hello. My public school district offers choirs separated by gender at both high schools, and has for years. I believe that this is fairly common in the state of Indiana. I would think that as long as courses are offered for both genders, there should be no Title IX problems. We offer Beginning Choir (male) and Beginning Choir (treble), for example. I would suggest looking on various states’ (including your own) Department of Education/Public Instruction web sites for course description guides which may offer appropriate language.
I am not an attorney, and my memory in retirement may be failing, but I remember the results of the legal case involving a public school boys’ choir in Connecticut that went to trial as a violation under Title IX. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and the result was this: separate gender-based choirs ARE legal if they meet the following two criteria: 1) voice quality and/or 2) vocal range. I remember that Gerald Ford was President so it’s been a long time since that ruling, and I have never heard of a more recent decision on the issue. One would have successfully to argue that the quality and/or range of a boy’s voice is different from that of a similarly-aged girl, and it appears that can be proved (at least on an individual basis!). As long as the gender-separate choirs are given equal training and opportunity, I think you are on good legal grounds to have a boys’ choir and a girls’ choir.