Boys, girls eat together again at lunch

An experiment in gender-segregated lunches ended after three days at Grand Mesa Middle School.

The school decided Monday to try having girls-only and boys-only lunch periods. Complaints from parents and students, though, brought the experiment to an end, and lunches returned to being coed Thursday.

The school launched the trial separation based on positive-behavior-support data that indicated keeping boys and girls apart during lunch would result in fewer fights and other incidents in the cafeteria and bathrooms, School District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said. Kirtland said he did not know details of the data.

Positive-behavior support is a program that rewards and teaches good student behavior while monitoring and correcting poor behavior in Colorado schools, according to the state Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports website.

Kirtland said reaction to the all-girl and all-boy lunch periods was “mixed.” He added three days was not long enough to declare the lunch-time segregation a success or failure when it comes to behavior.

“We didn’t see any issues around lunchtime then. The first few days of school, people are typically behaving fairly well,” Kirtland said.

Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana filed the first known lawsuit claiming discrimination against students because of gender segregation within coed public schools.

The lawsuit was levied against a Louisiana school district that separated girls and boys in core-curriculum classes, according to the ACLU’s website.

In June, the ACLU asked a judge to declare it illegal for a Kentucky school district to have classes for girls or boys only, citing the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the state sex equity law, according to ACLU.org.

A call to the ACLU in Colorado was not immediately returned Thursday.


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