Judge dismisses lawsuit filed by Delaware charter



    A Federal Court judge has made it tougher for Reach Academy for Girls to remain open.


    Reach Academy for Girls in New Castle, Delaware has fought a long and winding legal battle to keep its charter. That possibility looks increasingly slim after a court decision rendered Thursday.

    A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed Reach’s most recent federal lawsuit against the state, saying the Department of Education did not discriminate on the basis of gender or race when deciding to close Delaware’s only all-girls charter school.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    That same judge, Leonard P. Stark, had previously granted Reach a preliminary injunction to stay open for the current school year, noting then that state code prohibited the opening of a replacement, all-girls charter school.

    Delaware amended its code in the interim year and elected again to shutter the school. This time, the move held up to judicial scrutiny.

    State officials say they are closing Reach due to poor academic performance.

    The school claimed the state ignored critical evidence demonstrating growth and illegally failed to consider future plans in its evaluation. It also said the state’s use of standardized test scores to evaluate Reach constituted discrimination against African Americans, who make up the majority of Reach’s student population and who, according to the school, struggle disproportionately on such exams. Finally, Reach argued it would be discriminatory to close the state’s only all-girls charter. 

    Stark rejected all three arguments in a 14-page memorandum and rejected Reach’s attempt to file an amended complaint.

    Reach also filed a lawsuit in the New Castle County Court of Chancery, which has been stayed pending Stark’s decision in U.S. District Court.

    As of now, Reach is slated to close at the end of the school year.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal