In response to an August 9, 2021, ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia which concluded that charter schools should not be considered “state actors,” the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools submitted an Amicus Brief in support of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) petition for en banc review, where all of the 4th circuit court judges review the ruling. The National Alliance emphatically asserts that public charter schools are state actors, bound to protect students’ constitutional rights under the Equal Protection Clause.
The National Alliance supports the Plaintiffs-Appellees’ arguments concerning flaws in the panel decision. Charter schools function as public schools in North Carolina and North Carolina courts have without fail recognized their public character.
All charter schools are public schools. This is clearly, and unequivocally, articulated in every state charter statute across the country and in federal statute. Moreover, every state charter statute recognizes charter schools as part of the state's public education ecosystem. If this ruling stands, it would be in conflict with the clear intent of these statues and threaten the public status of charter schools across the country.
The National Alliance firmly believes charter schools cannot discriminate against any student on the basis of sex, gender, race, disability, or religious preference and insists every charter school student must be given the same federal and state civil rights and constitutional protections as their district school peers.
Read Nina Rees’ statement on the August 9 ruling.