Lee County students face gender segregation

A decision to segregate some Lee County Middle School classrooms by gender has some parents heated. / Jessica Fairley

A decision to segregate some Lee County Middle School classrooms by gender has some parents heated.

School officials say they resulted to splitting classes by boys only and girls only after realizing grades were not where they should be.

"Our female students were out performing the male students and so we started checking into some professional development and things we could do with male students vs. female students to help boost that achievement goal," said Lee County Middle School Instructional Support Specialist Kelly Duke.

School faculty looked over books and took advice from consultants who advised giving gender segregated classes a try.

Representatives for the Lee County Board of Education say until now, there's been no backlash from parents.

"We've never had any complaints, if anything we've had good feedback from it that we're making an effort to try and relate to all of the students," said Lee County School System Curriculum Advisor Gail Melvin.

She says this is just another strategy to help students focus.

"We separate our P.E. classes for some of the same reasons; so that they're not competing with one another or not showing out," said Gale Melvin.

While faculty and staff say the gender segregated courses are set up for student achievement, parents feel they should have been informed of the changes.

One woman who contacted FOX 31 says she didn't find out about the gender segregated classes until her daughter brought it to her attention.

The woman says her daughter is a student on the school team that's facing the trial of segregation.

There are about 120 students who are being affected by this change. While some parents don't agree with it, some parents are on board.

"I know my son likes girls, so I think it would help him. It would be less distraction for him," said Terry Presley.

So far at Lee County Middle School only a handful of classes are practicing with gender segregation.

This trial is only expected to last until the school is done with standardized testing.

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